Friday, 9 December 2011

Writing for Corporate Projects

For the most part, when you write for any type of “industrial” project—be it a training video,
marketing piece, or presentation video—you face the same issues and concerns as when you
write a fictional short or feature. You still have a story to tell, that story needs to have a structure,
and you must tell that story visually. So, just as you need to apply a goal and a structure
to a fictional script, corporate and industrial scripts also need to have the same type of
beginning/middle/end narrative drive to them. Corporate and industrial scripts are usually
heavily based on interviews, or on voice-over narration with additional video footage or
graphics to illustrate concepts. Even though these types of video do not always have
“dramatic” real-world scenes in them, they still benefit from a sturdy three-act structure.

Before you commit any words to paper, try to get a clear idea of the “problem” that will be
solved. Introducing and explaining the problem will constitute your first act. Next, you’ll
want to explain why this problem is difficult or worthwhile to solve. This will serve as your
second act, the complication. Then you present the solution to the problem.

In a fictional project, the second act is usually the longest. In a corporate production, however,
the third act is usually the longest, because you’ll want to spend a long time dealing with
the details of the solution you’re proposing.

Corporate productions have a big wrinkle, though. Before you begin writing, you need to give
thought to who you believe the audience is for your particular production. A production
aimed at a management team will probably have a very different message from one aimed at
a board of directors. If your audience already has a deep understanding of the problem you’re
going to present, then you’ll want to make a shorter first act, and devote the time to beefing
up the areas that they’ll be less familiar with. You don’t want to bore your audience with information
they already have, so an understanding of who your intended audience is, what they
already know, and what they need to know, is essential.

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