Our 10th webcast where Sarah is discussing the process of script writing for corporate videos with 5 talented writers.

 

Discussion Topics:

– How they got into the industry.
– Their natural writing style.
– Multi-column scripts.
– Tips & best practices.
– Audience Q&A.

 

Panelists:

Mike Kirby
Willie Pena
Scott Davis
Terri Marie
John Kelly

 

Sarah Marince:

Hello everyone. It’s Wednesday. So that means it’s time for crew talk. Welcome to crew talk brought to you by shoots.video. Today, we have a very large panel with us and we are going to be talking about writing corporate video scripts. So like I said, we have a lot of experts in the field with us today, and I have a lot of questions. So we’re going to get to those in a second, but hello to my panel. Thank you for being here today.

Sarah Marince:

I think you’re all pretty much on the West coast. So hello from Orlando, Florida, where it’s evening here, but thank you for being with me today. And like I said, I do have lots of questions I’m going to get to, but for our audience members who are watching any questions you have, you can drop them into our chat box and I will get to those towards the end of our session today. So I’m just going to dive right in today. Get into all my questions. So what is a script writer and why is it so important in video production? And anyone can answer this. You can raise your hand and you just kind of answer however you want. Anyone can go for it, but don’t all go at once, please.

Sarah Marince:
Mike, why don’t you take this first one?

Mike Kirby:

Oh, thank you so much. It’s very, very well. I think it’s pretty self evident script writer writes the script is the most basic thing you can say about it, but for corporate video, it’s at least in my experience, it’s been a different sort of animal than say even doing a product, a video for, you know, when you’re trying to do a branding exercise in that corporate script writing for corporate videos is basically what you’re trying to do is take a preset agenda and trying to turn it into something that people would actually want to pay attention to. And you have the challenge, I think in corporate video is that unlike, say a brand manager for a product or service or whatever, they’re usually, shall I say a little bit more uptight about what you’re saying, how you’re saying it, because they almost want it to be like you know, a mantra of some sort, rather than thinking about gee, is anybody really gonna want to look at this? And even remember what’s being said, so I think that’s pretty much what the difference is. So you’re kind of an interpreter of this corporate mission statement and turning it into something usable, piggyback on that.

John Kelly:

What Mike said, I think that’s really well said. I think, I think one of the challenges, which I’m sure you’ll get into is, and part of what a script is, is try and distill the voice of the company and the product or the product. And trying to that visually.

Scott Davis:

I think one thing, cause I’ve had this discussion before and just kind of generally, why have a writer for this? Is it like a lot of, a lot of clients just don’t even think about that? Like, Oh, you know, we have all this information, like on our on our website and the about us, we just put that as the script and that’ll be our video, but like, they don’t even realize that like, like, Oh, there’s a lot more that goes into that. Plus like when you’re reading something, it’s a lot different than when you hear it out loud, like you need to kinda to condense stuff and simplify it and make it interesting for the audience. And it’s one of those things where they don’t even think about it. And then like when they, when they finally see the product or if they try to write it themselves, then there’ll be like, Oh, you were right. Yeah, this, this isn’t my job,

Terri Marie:

I think in addition to that, Sarah, those are all really important points about corporate videos, but corporations usually have more money to spend on a production. And because of that, it’s really important when you have a bigger crew or a more expensive crew and cameras are set to really have the script as tight as you can. And that’s when really important reason to bring in someone who can nail it down or be on set and adjust as things need to be, you know, done as you’re filming. And Terry, what would your answer be to how is writing traditional marketing copy different or the same as digital and social media copy? Well I don’t do as much digital and social media, so I may not be the best person to answer that, but I think writing good copy is the across the board important and getting someone’s attention quickly is what you’re trying to do in both in both of those. That would be my answer.

Willie Pena:

And just to add to that, I was going to say the same thing, but for both corporate video and digital social media stuff, I think what’s important is the hook and all like, like Jerry said again, getting that attention really quickly. There’s a lot what corporate clients generally don’t think about it. They’re like, it’s all about us and our image and our brand. And literally nobody cares. Nobody cares about you. They want to know what’s in this for me, so you have to hook them. And when I write these things, it’s always a sales in my head. I’m always selling. So I’m writing a script, that’s going to help them present their brand, whatnot, the hooks, the buyer, but in a sales way where you’re giving something to the person watching that makes them want either click on, learn more or find out more about the brand itself or some other action, as opposed to just a commercial of like Scott said in about us page, which nobody is going to pay attention to. So I would just add that that’s a little bit of a difference where you really want to sell your clients and they might not always understand that, but just like we’ve got a webpage that branding just use that it’s like, you need a little bit more. Why, what is the point of the video in the first place? What was your goal with this? You already have an about us page and there’s some people animated about a space at the beginning sentence. They’re long winded. I know.

Sarah Marince:

No, that’s great. That’s the more details the better does anyone else want to jump on? If not, we can move on. What’s one of the most important elements a script writer can bring to a project other than the writing skill?

Terri Marie:
Enthusiasm, passion. There’s so many things.

Scott Davis:

I think another thing I was trying to think about the answer to this flexibility with any, any writing it in whatever medium getting notes sucks most of the time because it’s like, you didn’t do it. Right. but especially with this one, when you’re trying to please the client you have to be flexible to everything. And even, you know the, when you think you have your, your final draft in and they would say, you know, we, we, we want this being able to just change it right away or changing it, changing it in a way where you’re still getting that note across. But knowing that it’s still going to work, that’s good.

Willie Pena:

And I think that says, also learn how to bill for when that flexibility’s original in terms of your deal. Yeah.

Mike Kirby:

Well, there’s another factor that I always think of and that’s, you have to have intuition unless you’re dealing with say the head of the corporation, you’re dealing with somebody whose butt is on the line. If it doesn’t turn out right. Or it doesn’t fulfill the vision of the head guy. So intuition has to come in and it’s almost like a therapeutic thing it’s like back in the day, that all says soon had a tagline that says if you look good, we feel good. And it’s always the way I approach it in anything, whether it’s advertising. If I make that person, who’s the decision maker look good ultimately to your point about the billing, I’m going to feel good. So it’s almost, it’s not really handholding, but just picking up on what their fears are in regards to the project that they’re helming and try to get behind that and kind of go, okay, you’re not saying it to me, but I’ve got, I got an instinct here that if we do this, you’re, you know, you’re going to get in trouble for it or anything like that. So it’s just, that’s another factor. That’s probably because we all been in this business for a while. We just do naturally, you know?

Sarah Marince:
What’s the most important thing needed before writing a script?

Willie Pena:

Tequila. I’m going to say, I go just from experience of not doing this and the horror that has occurred, the first couple of scripts is get everything slashed out, like at a granular level from the beginning. So what’s their goal with this video is the first thing is what, what is the point of this video? Why are you spending money? Why are you hiring? Because it really get their vision. And then you can use, like Mike said, your intuition to figure out, just steer this conversation to really deliver what is going to help them most, again, the sales thing, what’s going to provoke action from the person who’s reading. So very, very thorough intake of like, you know, what’s your budget? Like, what’s your goal? Is there going to be animation has, have you budgeted for that? You know, how much know budget, how much animation are we doing? Is there going to be actors as opposed to animation? So are you going union? Not all these things have to be known up front because, or else number one, you’re going to deliver a script, what you’re going to have to rewrite extensively and we waste your time and you’re likely will not be able to build them for your errors. You know, the idea is I’ll sell it first. And number two, you’re going to, you’re just going to have a lot of back and forth with the customer and revision after revision. And it just gets frustrating. So if you, if you do a very thorough, I mean, I have a spreadsheet that I use, here’s all the points that I’m going to need in order to even produce a script. And yes, I do take a deposit. And if there’s any changes past what we agreed to here is going to be more, I just kind of like set the big picture from the beginning. And that requires me to find out as much about the client and their project as possible. So just be thorough, I guess, is what I would sum that up.

John Kelly:

I also think a critical element is knowing who the audience is, because I think everything funnels down to that. And I think, I think your narrative through line, whatever that will be funnels down to that. So I think that’s a critical element in, in conjunction. Certainly what Willie said. Definitely.

Terri Marie:

Now the difference I see in a corporate video versus doing a film or a documentary is you have an extra layer. You have the corporation between you and the audience, and you have to please them first before you please the audience. So that adds a little, another layer of you could look at it as difficulty, but also you know, what I do is I start like you, Willie, I start with the goal with the theme and everything is driven through that. If I ever get stuck in a production, I go back to that goal and it’s clarifies it. Doesn’t meet that. So I kind of, it’s like an inverted pyramid. You start with the big, and then you’ll go down and you narrow it till you get the really hook or key of the story. And once you get that, it almost seems to write itself, at least for me.

Sarah Marince:

Quickly somebody in the audience, just wanting to Willie for you to elaborate on the spreadsheet you use.

Willie Pena:

Oh, okay. So it’s just basically from experience some good, some bad it’s like, what am I screwed up on? And then it asks, and I could have been built for later, basically what drove this is that it asks you know, for, for their, for their budget right away. So I overwrote, you know, I wrote too many scenes or something like that. And that took me back to, to kick me in the butt. So just basically imagine what you’re going to need, put yourself in the place of a director. The guy was guy, I shouldn’t be saying what the actors or the animator and shooting. I think I’m all those things that, that encompasses and ask the questions that you, as a script writer can fill in everything that’s going to be needed on that set. So what does that mean? I don’t mean like what’s the catering budget or what’s crafty, you know, things like that, but I mean like how many people are going to be involved in this production as far as talent, how many actors do you want, is it going to be a voiceover? Is it going to be on screen? So all these kinds of things was, gets the person to think about really what they want, because in general, they don’t know what they want at the beginning. So you guide them through this interview process and my spreadsheet is more or less a state. Okay. What’s your overall goal? Like John said before, who’s, who’s the target audience, what’s your budget. And a lot of times I don’t want to answer that, but you need to know it all. You’re going to overwrite underwrite. Right? Sure. They were thinking of going to Disney to shoe and you’re writing for, you know somebody’s backyard. You know what I mean? So you gotta, you gotta know what they’re, how much they’re willing to invest. As they’re going to be a voiceover narration, is it going to be actors on screen animation? Do they envision animation, animation? Who’s going to do the animation or they’re to outsource is going to be in house. Do they need a referral? So all of these kinds of things, it’s just a basic customer intake that I’ve, you know, I’ve got it. I keep adding to it

Sarah Marince:
Through experience. Right?

Willie Pena:

And it’s fluid. So I don’t ask these questions to every single project because I’m the more relevant. So, you know, do a Google sheet and start writing what you would think you need to ask somebody and it builds itself.

Mike Kirby:

I think, I think another thing Willie’s talking about is because I come from the ad agency side in doing corporate videos for you typically in the past, they were a client of the agency. Therefore they wanted a corporate video, but now that I’ve been an independent for like two, two decades now, sometimes they come in direct, you know, or sometimes they’ll contact a production company like Blair and Blair will outsource to people like me and our good friend for some of us, Doug Morris. So the basic thing that I always find two things is that it’s really good to have a partner, a creative partner. And typically for me, it’s with an art director that I know that I’ll kind of go, Hey, I got this gig it’s corporate video. Are you interested? We’ll concept together and try to come up with like a terrorist talking about that hook, you know, through the prism of whatever their brand image is. The other thing is that I always find really important. There’s a problem here. Otherwise, why would they be, they wouldn’t be doing the video if there wasn’t a problem to solve. And sometimes it takes asking the question a lot of different ways, but getting them to come really nail it down. What is it what’s wrong that this thing can fix? And that always gives me a good idea how to approach it just from a creative point of view, trying to come up with that, that idea, that’s going to be the umbrella idea through the whole thing. And the other thing is that because of my coming into Brandy, when it first got, I hate using the word now, but the one thing that I always find is that, and I put it in my own creative briefs or like Lily spreadsheet. I always said, I have to find that reason to believe it’s like that old Tim harden song. I cried when they lied, but still I look for a reason to believe well, consumers, especially of any type, whether there are other corporations, B2B or consumers, they’re so used to being lied to all the time by everybody. So it’s really important to me to find a reason to believe. And it has to be so truthful. It can’t be impeached and it’s truthfulness, and that’s basically like a center point for everything. And try to build off of that, you know,

Sarah Marince:
Should you include camera direction and other explicit directions such as how animation should look?

Mike Kirby:

Oh yeah. Cause cameraman don’t know what they’re doing. Well, I’m wanting to know how John Kelly got such good lighting in his office there I’m under a crappy skylight here. Look at him. It looks like a high production value, right? Has more of that paranormal video feel. So yeah, it does. Yeah. I’m going to be on with the voodoo doctor in a little bit after that.

John Kelly:

So my experience is, is no, except if you’re really trying to make a specific point you know what, we’re willing to do a drone for this to capture this particular shot. But most as Michael probably said, most directors don’t like it. If they get inundated with, with camera directions, cause they’ve already got a visual grammar in their head of how they want to shoot it.

Mike Kirby:

So, so John and Sarah, this kind of keys into another question you guys are talking about, which is a storyboarding because storyboarding a script can have camera direction. But again, in my case, I usually work with an art director who does a rough storyboard so that we can sit down with a production company and go through it. But maybe that’s another thing to weave that everybody can talk about here. Willie, do you do storyboards?

Willie Pena:

Yeah. Yeah. And I’m also, I guess I’m a counter point that you guys are not putting direction. I mean, I do put, I guess I’ve worked with a lot of animations, so I put a lot of direction as to where I want the things to fly in and sure. Yeah, I’ve used story boards and those are pretty explicit as far as right where I want things to go. And I think my case is it’s corporate. And I don’t have the luxury. I haven’t had the luxury of working with a specific art director. Like Mike I’m basically doing everything. So they want that final product that shows everything so that they can just run with it.

Sarah Marince:
Is it common to be asked to produce storyboards

Willie Pena:
Me 25%? 30% of the time that, not always.

Scott Davis:

Yeah. Yeah. I think it, it gets I think not necessarily the client has asked me for it, but the, the companies that I’ve been hired through are usually like, we’re going to make a storyboard. So talk with the storyboard artist about this or whatever. And sometimes they want me to, to include in the script, what is going to be in the storyboard. And sometimes not,

Terri Marie:

There have been times there have been times when I have done them and times when I haven’t. And usually the times when I haven’t for the, some of the time is when I am also directing it, because I know in my head when I’m doing, but even if I am directing it’s, sometimes they will ask for a storyboard. So, you know, they’re pretty easy to do so it depends on how much detail they want. So yeah, better to have it.

Scott Davis:

I think when presenting an idea to a client it’s a lot of times good to let them see exactly what you are talking about. Cause I’ve run into a lot of times that clients are very literal in, in what they’re reading on the page. And they’re like, I, but the, the, the words that are here, aren’t in a video form, what does this mean? And it’s like, yeah, that’s a script. We’ll actually be filming it and then it’ll be on a screen. And they’re like, what, what are you talking about? So sometimes you have to like kind of like lead them a little more and then other times you don’t.

Terri Marie:

And another thing that Scott that brought up an idea is I had a client who I did a storyboard for who wanted a particular scene in a restaurant. And we drew it kind of based on what he initially said. And when he saw this storyboard, he said I want it to be really diverse in this section and add more, you know, and that we wouldn’t have known without the storyboard. And we would have gotten the people. So it saved a lot of time and money.

Sarah Marince:
What kind of formatting do you use for script writing and what software do you use?

Willie Pena:

I’ll go first. I used to use I tried to use, sorry. I tried to use Celtic’s before. We’ll have to call them now. I just use Microsoft word. It just easy for me. And for storyboards, I do have a tune boom storyboard. So that’s what I use.

John Kelly:

I’m the same way. I mean, I, I use word. It’s funny. The whole formatting question is interesting to me because in my experience, I find that the people that hire maybe the company once an what they call, I guess, an easy audio visual with two columns, audio and video for a long, for a lot of people that the end users that they’re using it, I signed a screenplay format. They’re able to visualize it more. And I think it’s just the way eyes go down to things. So I written in both formats probably about 60, 40. So it’s interesting to me that they’re how they, it’s just based on what they’re used to, I think, but if that makes sense in the traditional screenplay format, as opposed to the audio visual.

Scott Davis:

Yeah. I I’ve I’ve done a lot of a lot of the jobs that I’ve worked have been for other companies like Blair or whatever, and everybody seems to have a, a format that they use, like split. So that’s kind of what I’ve always gone off of. Like, if I, if I just had my way, I’d use final draft, which is what I use to write my own stuff. But but yeah, it seems like, it seems like everybody is submitting the stuff with, with, you know, with the logo, the top sort of their company, so that it’s very fruitful.

Mike Kirby:

I find that word works perfectly and I usually just write it cause the first pass, usually I’ll write it out just with a scene description cut to, you know, this cut to that. This happens, this person says this, this person says that. And then as I said before, then I’ll turn it over to my art director partner and say, okay, here’s our starting point. And it usually that goes, that document turns into the storyboard. It just gets reformatted to do a storyboard with it, maybe a smaller description of the scene and whatever audio is happening in that.

Sarah Marince:

Okay. So what is the biggest mistake clients make utilizing a script and subsequent video or what they don’t take advantage enough of in the medium? John, I feel like I’m stressing you out with my question.

John Kelly:

So that was my question is walking a baseball game at the scene. So, you know, it’s funny just because I’ve had this conversation a lot. And to their credit, a lot of, a lot of clients have asked this, but I see a, like a lot of people use a talking head in a visual medium. And unless you’re, unless your person is very dynamic, you know, such as yourself, Sarah, it’s, it just doesn’t, it doesn’t take advantage of the visual medium. And you know, there’s very few CEOs that are, that are brilliant strategic and a dynamic speaker. If you have one, you’re lucky, but on the whole it’s I just find that people don’t take advantage of make telling their story visually to that something that resonates that the audience take away with, they just, they won’t sit somebody down and say, well, we just want this person to get this information dump out. And it’s like, that’s not really taking a base. You should give them a white paper if you’re going to do that. So I’m not opinionated about that at all, but I just wanted to get that across. So yeah, so

Scott Davis:

I think one, one mistake, if you want to call it a mistake is that videos are too long. I agree, nobody watches like a minute long video and thinks like this needed to be way longer. Like even if it’s a, if it’s a corporate video and employees are watching it or our clients are watching it or something like quick is, is going to be great, get all that information out or, or make several videos that are all short on one subject. And then they’ll, they’ll watch the videos that they need to watch. You don’t need to have a five minute video. That’s an overview of your whole company. Nobody’s going to watch that.

Willie Pena:

I was just going to say that this ties back to your earlier question are different than feeds like a corporate and digital and social, really digital and social, even serving that even more like thinking of like an Instagram story, you got like 15 seconds to sell this entire thing and make that impact. So if I were to take back my answer from before, that’s where digital and social, you have to be even more on your toes as far as that book and the first like second, and then delivering that message and then ending with a bang. So just like condensing everything to like that much, because it’s social, people are just going right away.

Scott Davis:

And especially if it is on Instagram or Twitter or whatever, or Facebook, something that they’re going to see, cause they’re not going to be listening to it. So if they’re scrolling through and it’s it, you just have a dialogue or whatever, nobody’s going to want to watch it because the only times I’ve ever clicked on something to hear what it is is because it’s visually like, Oh, what, what is this? Right?

Sarah Marince:
So what is the least satisfying aspect of corporate screenwriting?

Terri Marie:

I think if you come up with an idea that you really feel passionate about, you can’t be attached to it because sometimes they have something else in mind. And if you have to go with what they, and you do, if they’re very adamant and you can give them good reasons, you know, here’s why ABC, why I think it should be this way, but ultimately it’s, they have an idea in mind and they are adamant about it and you have to do it that way. That’s the least satisfying is when you’re not allowed to really make it glow and shine. Like you could make it that’s, that’s harder, but it’s doable, you know, that’s why they hire you. So

Mike Kirby:

Yeah, I think the dovetail off of Terry, what she said similarly is having a really good idea that everybody agrees on it at the top. And then by the time the end product, everything has been watered down because there’s been so many voices coming in to say, no, let’s take that out. Let’s do that list. And pretty soon you’re going, this, isn’t what we originally wanted to do. And that’s the satisfying. But when, when, when you, you start out a project and you, and you’re like, this is going to be great in my portfolio. I can’t wait to share this with everybody. And then at the end, you’re like,

Willie Pena:

It’s the same thing where it’s like, you’re getting this very dry. Like I’ve done some corporate videos on like boring, dry subject, but like a medical company. That’s just like, here’s my plan. Here’s my people. This is so horrible. And you came up with some kind of like, Hey, look, this really personal story. And it’s going to be great and people are gonna be used to that. And then they get shut down by the end of the thing. And you’re just left with this corporate thing. And you’re like, like Scott says I disavow was not involved.

Scott Davis:

And I understand like, especially people that aren’t necessarily creative thinking and, and it, and the art, somebody mentioned that like, everybody’s job is on the line. They don’t, they don’t want to get in trouble when it goes up the ladder. So they don’t want to take any risks. And like, you know, we’ve all seen the last couple of months, every commercial is using the same terms that yeah. And, and it’s, it’s like, you know, somebody was fighting to use something completely different, do some different type of commercial than all the commercials that everybody’s been making right now. But everybody’s like, ah, you know, let’s just do this. Everybody, everybody knows these, these terms, the a new normal and, and, and all that. Let’s just use those cause they know what it means. Right.

Sarah Marince:

Well, let’s flip it. And what is the most satisfying aspect of corporate screenwriting script, writing, script writing,

Willie Pena:

Seeing the end product and seeing it’d be awesome. You’re like, Oh crap again with animation. I don’t know what it’s gonna look like really. And then when it comes together, like, Oh my God, he’s better. So talented, great. My words, my vision as come to fruition and it looks awesome.

Terri Marie:

And when it’s, when it’s even better than you all envisioned, and it comes out just great when there are some surprises which you’re able to capture and put in there, that’s very, very satisfying. And ultimately when whoever’s the end user for that that product, you know, when they buy more books, when they buy more cars, when they take action or get the information that’s been passed on, that’s the ultimate satisfaction. And you don’t see that unless they tell you about that, you know, sales went up 50% because of this thing, this particular ad. So part of it is you just have to take satisfaction and you doing the best you could with what they gave you.

Scott Davis:

I kind of the flip of, of, of what we were saying before, but like, I, I there’s some times when companies like have been doing the same thing over and over again, and you present them with a new idea, like it might even be just like the first idea that you guys thought of and it’s presented to them. And it’s, it’s so different that they’re like in awe because it’s, it’s, it’s amazing to them. It’s like they, they just tasted ice cream for the first time and you’re like, Oh, cool. Okay, great.

Sarah Marince:
Alright. So can you guys talk about what a creative brief is and what you would want to see in one?

Scott Davis:

The creative brief cause I’ve been on both sides of it. It’s the information that the client gives you so that you have, you know, what what they’re trying to get across in, in the video who it’s talking to, it’s basically all the information that you need to create this video and get what their their vision is if they have a vision. And I think the important thing to get from that is kind of the tone of what they, they want, whether they want it to just be informational so that, you know, we’re, we we’re just trying to, to you know, tell the board of directors what, what this is or something, or if it’s too they’re, we’re trying to sell these products to kids, or we’re trying to like, knowing exactly what the video is for basically for you. That would be for, for us, I believe. Yeah, it is. It’s, it’s usually written out more in a in a a document where with, you know, it’s not just a checklist, but it’s, and it is for us, but it’s also, so like, if you work at an agency the agency would make that to give to the client to tell them exactly what like, did we get all this? Correct? Is this what you want to do? And then to give to the people that are to the creative team that is creating that project so that they have all the information as well. It was just a term that was foreign to me, but yes, I do.

Sarah Marince:
So you’re already on it. Willie, you already do it. So how do you decide who to target in your messaging?

Terri Marie:
They usually tell you. Yeah,

Sarah Marince: That’s pretty easy.

Scott Davis:

Sometimes they don’t even know though. That’s, what’s interesting. Sometimes you ask them that question and they’re like, well, the person watching the video, Still having to explain to them, like speaking.

Willie Pena:

Yeah. Yeah. I agree with Scott. I’m like, well, where are you targeting? What do you want to do something with this video?

Sarah Marince:

So then you kind of have to walk them through the steps of like who your audience is and what you want them to. Okay. So it’s

Mike Kirby:
Yeah. So, cause you have to determine that before you can move forward.

Sarah Marince:

Okay. Willie, I think earlier in one of our first or second questions, you mentioned a hook. And so if you could kind of, and anyone really, if you want to talk a little bit more about what a hook is and why that is so important,

Willie Pena:

It’s just what grabs your attention right off the bat. And for me I guess the main component is emotion a hook that ties into the emotion really quick for social media, like what Scott was saying, it’s gotta be visual, actual visual thing, which hooks in the interest. So you have to have emotion. And also for me, the hook also becomes kind of like the thread line throughout the entire script. So the hook relates to the rest of the script. It’s just that first impact statement isn’t by definition could be incorrect or correct. That first impact statement that emotionally hooks your audience member into what, into the rest of the beats

Sarah Marince:

Is a tagline, a hook then like the last thing you would hear or see, could that, is that also considered a hook in tagline? Like at the end? Yeah. Like a company’s tagline would that,

Willie Pena:

I wouldn’t say necessarily. I would say it’s more like the opener. Yeah, because if it’s at the end, you’ve already lost it.

Sarah Marince:
Okay. Okay. So it is, yeah, I guess that makes sense.

Willie Pena:

Like all writers learn this, like, think about a newspaper story, focus like that headline or that first little first sentence, then you trim the least important stuff. Like it’s an inverted funnel, like, like charity was referring to before another concept, but it’s like that first important impact statement. And then you kind of whittled it down and then, you know, as long as you get that hook in, they’re going to read the rest of the newspaper column or they’re going to watch your video. And you know, that’s, if you don’t have that hook, that first bang, they’re just going to keep scrolling by or click away or go leave the room to go get nachos. That’s my definition. Somebody might have a different name.

Sarah Marince:
Yeah. Anyone can add on if you’d like anyone, anyone

John Kelly: Bueller, Bueller.

Scott Davis:

I was thinking about that. Like now with like YouTube videos, they use almost like, almost like a hook they use like that. The, the still photo, like sometimes it doesn’t have anything to do with the video. I make people click and I don’t know if that relates to this at all, but it, it, it’s what I was thinking about. I would say absolutely. That’s probably the visual thing. It’s what triggers the brain to be interested and be like, I literally a hook right here.

Sarah Marince:

It’s so true though. It’s all the YouTube videos as I, somebody like that and then eating hamburgers, but it’s like, yeah, yeah, exactly. No, I totally know what you mean. Cause I watched those videos. I am that person who’s clicking on videos. It works. Yeah.

Scott Davis:

Because like YouTube and, and videos like you to, I say YouTube because it was kind of the first one, but like that it’s changed the way that we’ve absorbed information. Like we are our attention span or most people’s attention span is so small now, especially for stuff that when you’re scrolling by, like, you don’t have time to sit through to see if you like it. Like, and like sometimes it’s just the P the, the front picture of it. And that’s it. That’s all you get.

Sarah Marince:

Yeah. That is very true because sometimes you’ll click on those and whatever that picture is, isn’t even in that video and you’re like, heck yeah.

Scott Davis:
We’re only judging a book by its cover.

Sarah Marince:
Next question. Why do so many writers use metaphors in their copy?

John Kelly:

Cause we were weaned down. Right. Bradbury. I don’t, I don’t, I don’t know. I don’t have an answer to that question because I’m not sure that I, that I do. I do that. I’ve done that just a few times, but I don’t know. I’m not sure. I’d like to hear the answer to this.

Terri Marie:

I think it could relate to having a story. And when you creating a story, you look for metaphors to relate it to something. That’s how I would answer that.

Willie Pena:
Yeah. Great. Strong imagery. I think, you know, the visual, I think you have something to prepare.

Scott Davis:
We’re all painting a picture on a canvas.

Mike Kirby:

Well, I think it’s because metaphors and analogies are kind of right in the same arena and people just figure things out faster. If you can use an analogy. I mean, I’ve list on my LinkedIn thing that I’m a board certified analogist because I use analogies all the time and everything. It’s just the simplest way to get a point across quickly and effectively. And if you can put some creativity into it, then you make it memorable. And that’s always what you’re going for.

Terri Marie:

I agree. And I actually can think of an example that wasn’t a corporate video, but it could have been. And that’s at Chapman university when president Doti was running the economic forecast for the County and the, and the country, he would talk about the economy and he would have PVC pipe and people could understand PVC pipe. They couldn’t understand the economy. So I think that’s one reason to use it in corporate video. If it’s, you know, a concept that most people aren’t going to get without something else makes sense.

Sarah Marince:

What is the difference between exaggeration and dramatization?

Scott Davis:
This portion of the questioning just seems like a quiz in English.

Sarah Marince:
It’s really just to get your opinions.

John Kelly:
Can I use a metaphor?

Sarah Marince:
You can use a metaphor to answer.

John Kelly:

I think of the daily Hurston sale and independence day. I feel like Davy daily or still is really a dramatization where we’re innovative state is very over the top and exaggerated. So that’s the best, I guess.

Scott Davis:
Which would you rather watch right now though? Daily? Or sit still?

Mike Kirby:
Oh yeah, but that doesn’t have will Smith in it.

Sarah Marince:

Well, we can move on to a question that isn’t a quiz question. This is the question. That’s no matter which topic or, you know industry we talk about, everybody always wants to know this is, you know, how do you decide what to charge for your services?

Willie Pena:

Yeah. I have a rate and I always add a little tonight if I think there’s other factors like different with the other client, honestly, it’s easier for, it’s cheaper for the client. If they’re specific. I mean, know what they want, if they’re vague, I always up it because I know it’s going to be a lot more work for me to pull strings and figure out what exactly are we making here. So I have a rate and then I adjust it up and down based on the complexity of the project. And that’s just basic. I have to point something out that if you look at Mike Kirby and Corbin Peters,

Sarah Marince:
Yeah. It could be related they’re right next to each other.

Sarah Marince:
That’s a picture of Blake right there.

Sarah Marince:

But yeah, it is like, yeah, that is like anyone else on a jump on the charging for services or how you run things or any piece of advice for people who are getting into this and might want to just?

Terri Marie:

If you’re just getting into it, you have to bring something to the table to show them as far as what’s your, what’s your worth and what you can do. But part of it is what they want. That’s going to determine some of the budget and how much time is going to be involved. But as you do more, more productions, you hopefully get better and you up your rate. So that’s wherever you are, you are at at the moment. That’s what, you know, that’s what I think you should charge. If you can really give them something stunning charging charge to the ceiling.

Scott Davis:

So I think freelance is so tough because anybody can pretty much charge whatever they want. And I don’t mean that like, like they can charge too much, but like they can charge as little as they want as well. Because they just don’t know. And like, I’ve run into that where like, I’ve, I’ve given a quote and they’re like, Oh, the last guy did it for this. And like, well, do you want to pay me? I recently found a document that and this wasn’t for freelance. It was for, for salary positions, but all in, in creative field. And it was, it’s the most helpful thing I’ve ever seen because it says like the averages of each state of what people are charging for you know, digital producer or art director or, or like everything in like the marketing creative world. And I had never actually seen those figures before. And so now I know, like if I’m because I’ve been applying for jobs as we all have, I’m sure. And like, I hate that question. How much are you, are you expecting, and I I’m like, I I’ll give you a number, but I don’t know if that’s correct number. I don’t know. And now I know now I know what, and it’s, it’s broken down by state too, so I can see like, this is, this is awesome. I would rather know what everybody else is getting paid than not know at all.

Mike Kirby:

It’s an interesting thing from my perspective, usually it comes that comes after the budget. You know, if the state to, to pathetically $50,000 project, and our directors wants Papa that I want to pop with that, but, and you know, the budget dictates two things. It dictates how leveraged the production can be, but it also dictates to me how, how much time I can invest in it before, you know, I’m not really making anything on it. So it kind of, but to Terry’s point, it’s kind of interesting when you’re first starting out, you charge probably less than you do once you get experience. But the beautiful thing is that it hits a sweet spot that today it takes me so much less time to do what it used to take twice as long or three times as long before. So I can price things pretty well, according to the budget of the production and knowing I’ll still be profitable on it now, will I be making a base rate of 90 to $100? But you know, when I average definitely time over a year, these days, I’m kind of happy if I hit that point on things, but you might, you might not. And also the other factor it is, is this going to be repeat business? Right? So I might, I might shoot a little bit lower to give more money to production thinking. Yeah, great. Because in six months we’re going to do another six months. We’re gonna do another. So then you’ve got the scale of things to help offset anything that you’re really cutting yourself down on.

Sarah Marince:

All right. Well, we’re going to jump to some audience questions now. Have one from Justin. Hey Justin, do you have a strategic trick or idea that you always use as a bailout or go to? Is there something that has saved you a number of times?

Terri Marie:

For me, every production is different. And so each time it’s going to be a unique thing. So I guess the thing that saves me is keeping a cool head when anything is going on, that is out of the ordinary that’s but everything is different and every production takes a different viewpoint and energies. So just be as was it, I can’t remember who, because we’ve all changed positions on my screen. So I can’t remember who said this, but you had said be flexible. And I think that’s, that’s real important. Was that you Scott? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Okay. Well, you’re back in that same position now. So,

Mike Kirby:

You know, bill Bernbach use of Goyal, Dane Bernbach, you know, there’s a great sixties ad agency. He used to carry around a piece of paper in his pocket and occasionally, you know, cause they were pretty cutting edge, a creative agency at the time. So they were selling ideas that some people had never seen before, but this was a great thing. It had a piece of paper in his pocket. He’d pull it out, especially when things got difficult and all it said on it is maybe he’s right now, today should maybe they’re right. Or maybe she’s. But anyway, the whole point is I think like you’re talking about Terry it’s, you know, when you get into that position and I hope that’s what the question is about maybe, or maybe it’s in the creative process of go to thing or, you know, like an ending where you go, that’s all folks and you do, but it’s just basically just trying to keep, keep calm. You know, there’s never any prep, my attitude, there’s never a problem. There’s always a solution. So how can we get there easy and fast and make everybody happy? You know?

Scott Davis:

Yeah. I don’t know if this, this actually answers the question or if this was what was asked, but I always still use this notepads to write notes first and like, then I can structure it and go off of there. I don’t know if other people always do that or not, but I, I can’t just use my computer to write, like I need, I need something next to me that I can look at. If it’s just about a GoTo like gag funny names, let’s start with K.

Willie Pena:

My trick or tip would be if you’re writing about a subject or your project, that you’re not familiar with this, go to YouTube and see what other people have done. And that’ll kind of provide you a, at least a starting point for your own ideas. It’s okay to get inspired by other, other, other artists, other writers we’re here.

Sarah Marince:

And that’s a good, that’s good advice. My next question from an anonymous attendee, what resource is good for rate checking is Glassdoor, a good one.

Mike Kirby:
Do they cover freelance?

Scott Davis:

The one that I found that wasn’t for freelance hold on. I have it on my onward salary guide was the thing that I found, which is, is just for salaries. And it, it it’s like it was updated for 2020. So

Sarah Marince: Onward salary guide.

Scott Davis:

Yeah, I think it’s from on maybe onward.com or, yeah. Okay. Very cool. Awesome. I don’t know about freelance. Yeah.

Sarah Marince:
Is there a source, for example, scripts that a novice can look up, I can look up online?

Terri Marie:

Well, just look at commercials that you like, and you could write that, write them out so you can see the text and then you can compare the ones that you like with what style maybe that you would like to do. So just look at what you like and write it out.

Mike Kirby:
That’s a great technique.

Sarah Marince:

Yeah. This is from Karen. Any tips for working with non-actors and doing testimonial videos, for example, trying to recruit new employees to your firm?

Scott Davis:

Yeah, that’s, that’s more directing and producing, but I’ve done a lot of that and it’s mostly just making them comfortable. You can have a list of questions that you’re asking them, but then like if something peaks your interest in something that they said, asking them about that, which may throw them off a little and, and usually that’s when you get better stuff than when it’s just the, the stuff that they always say or the stuff from their website or something like that. Like you want to actually get the real them and not just reading from a script. Okay. Especially if they’re non-actors right.

John Kelly:

They’re talking about their life before we start rolling, just get them. And then they start something they’re really interested in or something that’s personal. They just veer off into that tends to do that creates a little bit of a trust bond. And then all of a sudden they’re a little bit more relaxed, a little more comfortable that seems to work for the most part.

Sarah Marince:

Awesome. Well, we don’t have any more questions in the chat box. We have a few more moments before we’re going to log off, but I just want to say, thank you guys so much. This has been a really, really fun panel. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this. It’s been a lot of good conversation, great answers. And a lot of laughs. I just went, you guys see each take a moment to go around. I know we’re all in different boxes, but just say your name and maybe your social handle, like your Instagram or website of your website, just to kind of promote yourself to everybody here. Mike, we can start with you.

Mike Kirby:

Oh yeah. That’s a good idea. I might Kirby. This is really enjoyable. Thanks for listening to me yak. If you’re under a spin, same work that I’ve done, even though I haven’t updated in some time. My website is kirbycreative.com. Great.

Scott Davis:

I’m Scott Davis. I just created a new website, mr. Scott davis.com. That’s mrscottdavis.com. And on there I also just made a video. Like I said, I’m applying for jobs, so I decided to make a video, basically like a cover letter, video type thing. And that’s on there that people can watch. And I’m also on social media. Everything is mr. Scott Davis on everything. So you can see pictures of my dog

Sarah Marince:

International dog day guys is my dog is my everything. So yeah, it’s important day. I don’t let her in the room. She might. Terry, why don’t you say your handle and your name? Let me see if my dog is outside my door. Alright.

Terri Marie:

Terri Marie and my company’s Reel Mom Pictures. That’s real like film reel, R E E L. And you can see some of the things I’ve done on there. I’ve also written books and some music, but mostly focused on films and documentaries. Lots of them. Okay, cool.

Willie Pena:

I’m going to do what Richard says here and to put your info into chat. Nice. Everyone can do that. You all can do that too. You can throw your info in the chat. There’s my website. It’s opinion media group.com. I have a blog on there and just kind of like what I’ve worked with before. I don’t have a whole lot of content, but I’m generally too busy. Kind of the cobbler has the machine. I don’t feel that my own stuff. I build stuff for other people, but yeah, you can find me there. Great. John.

John Kelly:

I’m John Kelly and my website is JKellyworks.com. That’s K E L L Y. And I’ve got, I’ve got a lot of script work on there and in the subsequent videos and things like that. I just want to say I thoroughly enjoyed that. I learned a lot today. You guys are all great. So thank you for the opportunity.

Sarah Marince:

And this was super fun. And again, everyone, thank you for joining us. I am Sarah Marince. This is my dog. She wasn’t outside my door, but yeah, her name is honey, but maybe she’ll join us next time. But thank you. I’m at SarahMaince.com and I will see you guys on the next crew talk and you can find these videos on YouTube. So make sure to check out the YouTube channel and subscribe. We’ll see you guys next time.

 

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