Does ‘Storytelling’ in video production need more explanation?
In the world of video production, we often hear the term storytelling being used to describe the work of creative professionals.
But what does it really mean? How do you know if your marketing video contains a coherent, engaging story, or is just an amalgamation of nice-looking shots?
In this blog we take a bit of a dive into what ‘storytelling’ means for us. We will explore the importance of storytelling in video production and look at how it can evoke emotions, convey messages, and connect with your target audience.
At its core, storytelling is about creating an emotional connection with the audience.
Recently I heard Lucy Prebble, co-producer and one of the writers of Succession, speaking about the writing process for that very successful series. When asked about the timing of a particular plot twist, she answered….
“Part of the work of being a writer is to make the audience feel what the characters feel, that’s how you make a show good.”
This comment resonated. Whilst corporate video production obviously isn’t on the same scale as big budget TV shows like Succession! Careful planning, scripting and editing can help your audience to connect to your product, service, event or business, and feel the same passion about it as you do.
In short, we strive to elicit specific emotions from the viewers, that align with the objectives of our clients.
Why is storytelling important?
Well, let’s say we have 1, 2 maybe 3 minutes of a viewer’s time on your website, and less on social media.
Most people will never finish the film! See this blog post on viewing stats. Of course, we want them to watch as long as possible. So how do we do that. And how much info can you convey in that short time?
The skill is producing a video with the right engaging shots, animations, text, voiceover, interview etc, necessarily in the right order(!) with each element building and contributing to the story.
It’s a balance of ‘don’t totally bamboozle the viewer’ vs ‘don’t let the video story drag so much that they’re clicking away in boredom’.
And if you are using video to improve your SEO, which you should be, remember the long longer your audience stay watching your video, the more beneficial it is. YouTube analytics records watch time, and its great uncle Google favours pages (ranks them more highly) with longer engagement times.
If good storytelling evokes emotion, what do you want your audience to ‘feel’ after watching your video?
Before embarking on any video project, it is essential to identify the desired emotional response you want your audience to experience. This forms part of understanding your audience.
If your audience are investors, you probably want them to be inspired. An explainer video will be able to demonstrate how your product or service functions, and should make the audience feel confident. In addition, thoughtful storytelling can portray benefits to customers and investors whilst communicating the passion, innovation and beliefs behind a growing business.
Our video for IVe strives for their audience to hear, understand and feel the positive change possible by implementing hydrogen solutions in vehicles, and the consequences of not making a change.
Another example is a recruitment video, where the goal may be to provide prospective employees with a glimpse of your company culture and foster a sense of connection and to fire some enthusiasm.
Your audience should get a sense of what it feels like to work at your company from this video, and have a greater understanding of whether you are the right fit for them, or them for you.
The following team culture video for Dynamon shows the audience how they could grow and develop their career through supported and growth opportunities in an exciting and forward-thinking environment, and how they could feel working at Dynamon.
The Power of Visual Storytelling:
Anton Chekhov once said, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
This quote beautifully encapsulates the power of visual storytelling.
Videos allow us to show story points through subtle nuances and evoke emotions in ways that other mediums cannot. In the Jackloc customer case study video we filmed a small child reading a book by an open window secured with a Jackloc window restrictor.
The messaging is clear ‘Jackloc window restrictors will keep your child safe’. The mitigated risk is clear, and the emotion felt by the audience is concern, followed by relief and trust in the product.
Conveying Messages Effectively:
What messages do you want your audience to understand after watching your video?
Effective stories combined with great camerawork and editing can produce an emotional response, but we also want audiences to understand key client messaging.
Each video should have a clear purpose and key messages that resonate with the viewers.
By carefully listening to our clients and understanding their business and objectives, we ensure the script and story points are aligned.
The Importance of Coherent Storytelling:
House of Cards
“We can look at the story like a house of cards, and the minute you lose the viewer’s thread or attention it’ll fall down. Each shot, line of dialogue, piece of music, the pace, has to build upon the last and continue to tell the story, move toward the goal you have set. Not to a different goal, don’t change the goal posts. And arrive there, don’t leave it unfulfilled, solve the questions you’ve set up. So what are we building in a ‘story’? It’s a thread of believability, it’s maintaining a consistent emotional narrative, developing and resolving logical arguments. Essentially, the longer we can keep the viewer on the same wavelength, the more onboard they will be. But if you break that, maybe once they will forgive you, but it won’t take much to abandon ship. You can look at it like the viewer is looking for holes in the argument, like it or not that’s a natural approach, ‘Who can we discount?’, and it’s our job not to give them any!”
Don’t Repeat Yourself
In addition to the right shots and professional camerawork, stories need to make sense and script points should be made in the right order.
Julian, the founder of SuperReel has worked alongside many producers and storytellers during his television days, and reflects on a particular simple and critical piece of advice given by Ross Wilson, a talented storyteller, producer and author.
‘Don’t repeat yourself’…. Why?
- It’s boring,
- If you need to repeat yourself the story doesn’t make sense,
- If you can rearrange your story points so you aren’t repeating yourself……..you have a coherent story.
The average marketing video is around 2-3 minutes, while social media versions are much shorter. There is a skill in coherently laying out your story without repetition whilst leaving your audience with an emotional response. And to ensure our videos are memorable and impactful.
In the world of video production, storytelling plays a pivotal role in creating memorable and impactful experiences.
Whether you want to inspire, inform, or reassure, our team of creative professionals is here to bring your vision to life.
We’d love to help with your next video project or to discuss how video can work for your business to create an engaging video that connects with your audience and improves SEO.
If you want to get in touch for a quote for video production, feel free to get in touch.
And just for fun…. watching cute animal videos is good for your health!
SuperReel Superdog ‘Dotty’ ….
(You should now feel deep empathy and a tremendous sense of emotional well-being!)
AUTHOR: Christine Arriens