PART 2: Don’t make a video, tell a story

PART 2: Don’t make a video, tell a story

India recaptured the crown that Kapil Dev and his men first lifted at Lord’s in 1983
“Man, last night’s match was unbelievable… that finish, uff.”

You’ve never made a video before, and that makes you nervous. Understandable.

However, instead of getting yourself worked up over this “new challenge”, fall back on what you have done before, and are good at – storytelling. The most important skill in making a good video is not anything technical – it is simply the ability to structure a story.

There are two important parts to this structure – the narrative (the order in which information is revealed) and cadence (the ebb and flow that keeps you hooked).

We all have the ability to tell a good story: some might love holding court at parties, others might recount their day in great detail to their partners. Some read to their kids at bedtime, adding drama to each sentence, while others spend hours debating the loopholes in Tenet with a friend.

For some reason, we don’t dip into this skill set when we go into work mode.

For example, take this opening line from Cricinfo’s report on India’s 2011 World Cup win:

“Twenty-eight years on from the match that transformed the history of world cricket, India recaptured the crown that Kapil Dev and his men first lifted at Lord’s in 1983, and this time they did so in their very own backyard.”

It’s lovely – packed with information, emotion and context. It works for a news report.

But imagine you’re talking to a friend who missed the game. What would you start with? Something on the lines of: “man, last night’s match was unbelievable… that six to finish, uff.”

This may not contain any relevant information but it does something more important from a storytelling point of view: it builds anticipation.

Building anticipation before a big reveal, a hook to get someone interested in what you have to say, building tension before releasing it, setting up a joke for the punchline… these are all legit storytelling techniques that we use in our everyday conversations. If you’re putting down notes, start with: “Let me tell you a story…” or some version of “you’ll never believe what happened at work today.”

Basically, step one of making a good video is simple: don’t overthink it. Just sit back, relax, and start breaking your story down as you would while talking to a friend.

In the next post, we’ll take a look at some simple hacks to help you do this.

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