Okay, so last week was a great introduction. I felt so welcomed and very eager to contribute something real to this wonderful. I only hope that what I have to say helps someone in some way.
So today’s topic: Articles vs. Videos
In a few weeks I will be teaching a 40 minute session at the Arizona Interscholastic Press Association’s annual high school journalism conference. I am so excited to be going back to the conference for the fifth time! Yep, that’s right. I’ve taught at this conference for the past four years and every year I fall more in love with it.
What am I teaching the budding writers this year? Well, my topic this year is Rise of the MMJ: Multimedia Journalists and news presentation.
I am cannot wait for the convention! Now, I know that multimedia isn’t the typical writing experience. However, when it comes to shooting and producing video news stories there is an exceptional about of writing that goes into creating an eloquent, entertaining news or feature story.
In fact writing a script for a multimedia, or broadcast story, can be just as difficult as crafting a 600 to 1,000 news or lifestyle piece.
Why? For a variety of reasons:
- With writing a script you only have 30 seconds to two minutes to tell a beautiful, entertaining and informative story. The means you have to make your words count, because you don’t get a large word count.
- The words you write have to match and fit the tone and vibe of the quotes you get from interviewees.
- Writing an interesting lead with ten words or less for a broadcast story is hard and more often then not you have to settle for something that packs the punch of information for the story.
- There are some things needed in a script that you can’t write. For example, NAT sounds. You can’t write those you have find them in the footage and weave them into the story between your words and the sources words.
- There is less structure and less of your words in a multimedia story. It’s an adjust to have so little of what you view as necessary in the piece that you spent hours creating.
- Keep it short, keep it simple.
- If it’s a feature story, keep it punny. Like this story I did last semester while I was a broadcast intern: http://mirandacain.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/a-swingin-good-time/
- Let go of your words.
- Realize that it’s still YOUR story, even if the interviewees (sources) do most of the talking.
- Use NAT Sounds in place of voice over transitions when possible.
- Be mindful of unnecessary repetition of facts. It’s a short video people watching it will remember a fact you said fifteen seconds ago.
Still take time to craft words that will make an impact. Just because a script is shorter than news pieces in the paper doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put all your effort into writing the piece.