Storytelling on the web

VHSOnce I heard a story about a filmmaker who went upset by realizing that VHS distribution enables people to skip parts of his film. He considered terminating his career. This has happened half a lifetime ago. How nostalgic it feels now to think about all the respect we had to handle the tapes with, not to make them wear out too soon by berserk rewinding. How upset the receptionist at the library would get when you dared not to rewind them before bringing them back.

Today, in the age of internet, sometimes I wonder, would this filmmaker even consider becoming a filmmaker? I can firmly state he would. Nor VHS nor, Internet or any other format can take the essence of storytelling. It gets bent, twisted, squeezed, in any dimensions, especially in the case of internet, but staying on message remains a key to audiovisual communication. This is true for arts, entertainment, but for advertising it is the foundation.
A huge difference internet has brought is that literally everyone has become a producer of visual material. We use our phone’s camera, and even software as everyday communication tools. For personal use too, but not only. Professionals often use the same tools for advertising, educational or entertaining purposes. So where is the line between professional and amateur? Does it even exist anymore?

Sure it does. An amateur may come up with fine results, but a professional must. In the profession world, success is less a dependent of any circumstance. There is a technical side to it too, professionals are most likely faster and more punctual, as a result of dedication. Having produced hundreds or maybe thousands of videos does not compare to a few dozen. But there is an even more important aspect, the ability to stay on message. We are aware that viewers have the right to skip part of the video, to rewind it, to share it, and comment on it, and yet we take on the challenge to deliver the message. Being aware of these circumstances forces us to use them for our advantage.

Let’s talk about an example. You want to communicate something extensive, so we are facing the 60 second maximum attention span of every internet user, while the word count of your message adds up to much more. So what can we do to maximize engagement?
Possibilities are endless. First of all, you really do need to make sure if there is anything unnecessary in your message. Then there needs to be focus on how to create the basic structure of the script. It must build up the viewer’s engagement step by step, dynamically. Also, the whole story can be divided into several videos which might triggers curiosity, while the videos will individually not exceed the attention span.

And that’s just the script. There is visuals and sound. Once you have the overall concept, the rest can reinforce your ideas, and bring them to the next level. A video ideally communicates in many layers. It can reinforce the same message in several ways for those viewers who have different perception. In fact, we all have different perception, so a video needs to be versatile. And that’s where professionalism play a major role. We encourage people to fast forward the videos and skip the boring parts, if they find any. We dream of being challenged to produce more and more versatile videos.

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