08 Jul Concept and Script Development
An Easy Guide to Concept and Script Development for Video Production!
Ever had a great idea for a film, TVC or viral web video? Or maybe you have an idea brewing in the back of your mind but you’re not quite sure where to start? The team here at VMP faces this challenge daily and think we might be able to help! So let’s try and break it into some simple steps. We might even throw in a bonus template for concept and script development and who knows; maybe we can help you make a masterpiece!
Step 1: Developing an Idea
You might have no idea at all, or maybe you’ve got an idea that is ready to burst into life, for either scenario, we have to get through the grunt work first. You need to know why and what you’re creating so this can mean asking the sometimes boring, but extremely important questions.
– What is your main objective – Do you want to attract new customers? Show off a new product? Tell a story? Meet Brad Pitt? etc
– Who is your target audience? Don’t just think age, digital advertising can be pin pointed to specific gender, age, profession, educational level, personality and location. Online video is booming because you can make messages for target markets that want to watch them!
– It is a good idea to know your medium – what is it? Short film, web video, TV commercial, cinema spot? Knowing where you want your video to play is extremely important. It’s no use filming web quality and finding out the quality won’t fly when you try to run it at the cinema.
– Is the project feasible? Do you want Brad Pitt riding a tiger? That’s cool, but can you afford Brad Pitt riding a tiger? Most production houses are willing to negotiate on price to suit your budget but keep an eye out for extra costs like distribution, graphics and special effects. You can do it yourself, but be careful and make sure it looks good. Low quality productions can damage your image.
– What do you want to trigger? Emotional appeal, rational appeal, humour, celebrity appeal, sensual appeal etc. what will be your point of difference?
Step 2: Concept Development
Next you need to hone in on your ideas. It’s important to fine tune the concept so your video doesn’t dither about through lack of direction.
One of our favourite methods for concept development is brainstorming. You can channel your inner preschooler, roll out the craft paper and get to work with colourful pens, you could surround yourself with pictures of locations and actors you want to use or if you feel more suited to working verbally, spitball ideas at a white board or with friends, writing down what becomes coherent and scrubbing away the rest. I could go on, but there are as many ways of brainstorming as there are people. The idea is to put everything on the table, no matter what, see where it takes you and distract the logical side of your brain so the creative side can flow.
Experiment and find what works for you.
Next, write a treatment. This step doesn’t suit everyone and many skip it. That’s not a crime; we live in a free country. But the treatment is a useful outline of the idea that affirms the concept and the direction of the video. For a longer video or to capture more details you could break a treatment into a larger paragraph with a title, statement and summary. There is no established mantra for a treatment, as long as it reads well and people “get it”, you’re doing it right. Just keep it short, to the point and readable.
Eg: A young ladies guide to riding tigers comfortably by Brad Pitt.
Finally, decide on a structure. This is an easy step, and again not everyone’s cup of tea. If you already know what you want to happen this isn’t essential, but for those who are stuck, a structure can help direct the mood of your video. Here are two basic structures that we commonly use for our videos (of course it never hurts to break the mold and try something different.)
If you’re struggling for a concept you are welcome to borrow the idea above or, it might be time to call for some help. Get friends, family or colleagues to put in their two cents or hire a professional, that’s what we’re here for. Don’t be afraid to liaise with a production company and discuss your ideas, it’s our job to be flexible and to help bring your vision to life.
Step 3: Writing the Script
Once you’ve answered the basic questions to ground your video, you can get creative with the script. This is where the planning comes in handy and you get to have some fun!
Flesh out your idea by adding the elements you need to achieve the result you are after. From the first thing heard in your mind when you visualize the concept to the call to action and key messages. Turn your concept into a script, and then start working out the bugs. When you have a draft in front of you, you can check it against this little list.
– Timing – Does the video run within your time frame? Read it out loud.
– The language – if you’re using slang or technical language, make sure your audience will understand and won’t be scared off by the unfamiliar.
– Does everything make sense? Can your audience understand what you mean? – A great way to do this is to find a confidant and make sure that a cold read from them still makes sense. Feedback from fresh eyes is essential when working on projects.
– For a commercial, try to keep your audience’s attention by using short and punchy sentences, and don’t be afraid to repeat catch phrases
– Write with a location and talent in mind and troubleshoot early. If you know you want to film from bird’s eye view but your location is surrounded by trees you might have to compensate.
– Do you want animation, graphics or a logo? Where do you want them?
– Think about music, what kind of music, how much and where? Brad Pitt riding his tiger to Ride of the Valkyries may be more epic than a Crazy Frog soundtrack. But what suits your idea?
– Write draft scripts and be prepared and unafraid to make changes.
– Give the script to a few people to read, again, so a fresh pair of eyes may catch something you missed.
– Format your script; there are heaps of templates available that can guide you through a script format. VMP’s preferred format for our videos is a template with the left column for vision, and the right column for audio.
– Finally, have fun with this process – we do!
Remember, planning is the key to a successful production and nobody wants to make disaster. A great concept with polished script will help you work through the production phases of creating your masterpiece. It’s great to create and have fun, but if you want your creation to stand out, have meaning, and appeal to its target audience, you will need put the work in first and then watch the rewards roll in. See you at the Oscars baby!
At VMP, we have years of experience in corporate video production in Brisbane, so next time you need to promote your business why not contact us for a quote to create a video? Let’s talk! Give us a call on 07 3324 0900 or drop us a message, today!