How Can Literary Authors Help You Make Better Videos?

Tv storyboard is not just a guide but also it is a basis of your work. It’s 2013 and as smartphone is to Swiss Army Knife, so camera and microphone is to paper and pen. With all this new technology and marketing, it’s sometimes hard to know where to begin when creating professional looking video content to market your company or business.

Technology changes are inevitable, but the basic rules of creating remain the same. Someone once said that had Charles Dickens been alive today, he would have been the greatest film director of all time; the way his novels are written almost foretell the coming age of cinema! So why not dust off our English textbooks and take a few lessons from the greatest of our literary heritage.

J.K. Rowling: Plan, plan and plan some more

So Harry Potter is the most epic book series of all time? Agreed? Great, let’s move on.

As with anything you create, foundation and structure is essential to effective communication. Best thing to do with your plethora of ideas would be to order them à la J. K. Rowling. After all, your ideas are only great if someone other than yourself can make sense of them.

Before you begin writing your script, however, you should ask yourself the following questions: What audience are you trying to appeal to? What is the emotion/feeling you want to convey? What do you think is the most important thing you would like people to know about your company/business? The final stage in creating your plan is drawing up a storyboard and/or writing out a script. Only after you have done the necessary planning will this bring complete form and structure to your ideas.

C.S. Lewis: Write with the ear, not the eye

In 1959, a young girl appealed to C.S. Lewis for a few tips on good writing. Among the 8 lessons he recommended, one struck me as particularly wise: “Write with the ear, not the eye… “

This may seem like a strange idea to adopt for a visual medium, but it actually makes a lot of sense. What many people get carried away with when creating a film is the visual style, when actually this should be a secondary consideration for the beginning stages of pre-production. If you spend too much time focusing on how your video looks, your audience may be captivated by clever lighting and visual effects, but your point may be totally lost on them. Focus on what you want to say – keep it simple and to the point, visuals should then be used to enhance that message.

You will find that inspiration for a visual style will come to you far easier if you have a strong message to use as a base for your ideas.

William Shakespeare: Set the stage, find your players

Bill Shakespeare was not as lucky as you are today; his stage was located in an open air theatre in one of the rainiest countries in the world, and his female characters were played predominantly by puberty encumbered teenage boys (see Shakespeare in Love for further information). In these modern and enlightened times, rarely will you find a building with a massive hole in its roof, and today women are often called upon to do all kinds of useful things for society. So for you, the possibilities are endless.

The most important part of production, however, is assembling your crew. Here are my top three rules of crew hire and management:

Professional, knowledgeable, personable – These are the big three characteristics you should look for in every person you hire. You want people who can work in a team, people you can rely on to do their work and do it well. Do not work with anyone who offers you less than this.

Communicate – Your team won’t be any good to you if they don’t know what they’re doing. Make sure you provide them with detailed descriptions of what you are looking for, be specific. The more they know, the more they can help you achieve your vision.

Good Attitude – While their good attitude is important, yours is vital. Do not treat your crew like they are beneath you. Firstly, they are not (FYI, no one ever is). Secondly, your production will be the thing that ultimately suffers.

After all, I believe it was Hamlet who once said “Don’t be an arsehole and they’ll probably do a good job.” Something like that anyway.

Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë: Stick to your style

Hardened northerner Charlotte Brontë was never a big fan of her witty southern predecessor. She penned several caustic letters to friends and newspapers about her distaste for Austen’s style which she decried as being “only shrewd and observant”. Why these two writers are always compared to one another is a bit beyond me. The only similarities I can see are that they are both women born in the same century. My point being that they both have their own writing styles, and comparing the two would be the same as comparing apples and oranges: they’re just different fruits! Brontë would never write like Austen, Austen would never write like Brontë.

If you have an idea for the style of your film, stick to it. Don’t be encouraged to diverge from your original plans in post or during shooting if something has made you doubt your original idea. Just because you liked those really awesome sound effects in that video your 13 year old nephew sent you, or someone recommended that lasers would really enhance the feel of the project, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea or that it’s better than what you originally planned. Unless everyone’s telling you what you’re doing is crap, stick with what you wanted to do! Often a director has strayed from their original path, resulting in an overstretched budget, extra shoot days and a confused crew. Be adaptable of course, but always have faith in your ideas and your pre-production planning.

Charles Dickens: Sell yourself

When marketing your video, take a metaphorical leaf out of Charles Dickens’s book. Dickens was a master of selling himself and his work. His stories were published in chapters in weekly periodicals – periodicals that he created himself! He was a 19th Century rock star; travelling the world, performing and giving readings of his works to the general public. He liaised with politicians, publishers and actors, and as a result he was the most popular author of his age (if not all time!).

So you may not have a tour bus parked in your back garden ready to cart you off to London Apollo for a screening of your film, but you do have the almighty power of social media at your fingertips. Tweet your work, upload it to YouTube and Vimeo, share it on your Facebook page, post it on Tumblr and LinkedIn, blog it, reblog it, re-reblog it and harass your friends to show their friends until they refuse to talk to you anymore. Be relentless with your self-promotion, your work deserves to be seen.

So see, mum? My English degree was totally not a waste of time…

This article has been written by Trajan, a member of the London Post Production team. Pleas visit our website for more engaging articles covering the exciting realm of post production, video and audio editing, duplication, any many more.