Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin once said, “Writer’s block is my default position”. He wasn’t trying to be profound or even ironic in his approach to the question, “Do you ever get writer’s block?” He was being dead serious. With a prolific resume including, A Few Good Men, The West Wing, The Social Network, and Steve Jobs, Sorkin is one of the finest screenwriters around and yet, he always starts at zero.
After the initial stress of not knowing how to begin, Sorkin starts to outline a general theme. He then produces character grids, story mapping, and the main protagonist framework. It’s only after all of these things that Sorkin begins to feel more confident in his approach to the story. He begins writing and the result is amazing.
Sorkin is a master at crafting dialogue, getting the audience to buy into his characters and become truly invested in the story. There are no explosions, no CGI, and no gratuitous violence or sex. His writing is character based and story driven.
This whole place was built by the Apple II. You were built by the Apple II.
As a matter of fact, I was destroyed by the Apple II and its open system so that hackers and hobbyists could build ham radios or something and then it nearly destroyed Apple when you spent all of your money on it and developed a grand total of no new products.
The little box of garbage? You guys came up with the Newton and you, like, want people to know that? This is a product launch, it’s not a luncheon, and the last thing I want to do is connect the iMac—
--to the only successful product this company’s ever made? I’m sorry to be blunt but that happens to be the truth. The Lisa was a failure. The Macintosh was a failure. I don’t like talking like this but I’m tired of being Ringo when I know I was John.
So why have I put you through this exercise? Simple – this is storytelling at its peak. Nothing happens in this scene with the exception of the back and forth. It’s compelling because there is an instant connection to the characters. The story came to life because of the characters.
Your corporate video strategy shouldn’t be much different than this example. You start with a blank canvas and simply decide what story you want to tell. It’s easy at this point to revert back to what you are comfortable with. You start listing out product benefits or company mission statements. This is marketing suicide.
Instead, look at the people that make up your company, rediscover what makes your product great, imagine what a prospect would want to know about you that they can’t find on your website. Develop a pace, a tone, a truly unique examination of what your company represents in the market. Then tell that story in the most dynamic way possible.
If you continue to take the safe route in your video marketing strategy, you will never discover anything special about your story. If you stick with the dreaded rinse and repeat cycle, you will not be the company people talk about. Unless you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone and start at zero, your story will never be different. And that is a shame.
AGP believes in telling strories differently and having a strategy behind every video we create. In our Behind the Video series, we take a closer look at the thought process that goes into creating a video for each AGP client. Click the link below to check it out: