The headline is a little dramatic, but here’s what I mean.
A question I get asked a lot when talking to clients and prospects is about our use of scripts…
“if we will be writing a script”, “will we get the script ahead of time?”, or “Who writes the script?” etc.
Because it comes up a lot and because I basically say the same thing every time – I thought I’d write a quick entry here about this.
The important thing to keep in mind is that we do write scripts.
Almost all of the Votary team are filmmakers, and have dabbled if not flourished in the industry producing short films, feature films, documentaries, commercials, episodic series, etc. But scripts are only necessary/valuable if the subject speaking the lines is an actor.
Most of the films we produce are short documentary promos, where the “cast” or main characters are the actual people who run the brand we are partnering with.
If we’re interviewing the CEO of Nike in order to obtain narrative lines for their docu-promo and we just hand him lines to say, doesn’t it sort of defeat the purpose of the interview? Mark Parker (current Nike CEO) is a business man, not an actor. Writing a script also presupposes that we know what he needs to say, and can say it better than him. Unfortunately, this is fairly prevalent in video production, but is something that makes Votary unique. If I interview Mark Parker someday for a project, I’ll focus on getting to know him as a person, understand his background, his story, and ultimately want to find out why he does what he does. Once you have that, you find the why behind that, and suddenly you have something much more valuable and effective than anything we could have handed him in a script.
All that to say, scripted commercials can also be incredibly effective in communicating targeted messaging to an audience. It’s just a horse of a different color. (In my experience, scripted commercials are most effective in product-based brands, launching a targeted campaign, and/or creating an animated explainer)
“But scripts are only necessary if the subject speaking the lines knows how to act.” Ok, no script – “then how do we know what to say?”
Well, even though we aren’t going to put words in your mouth, it’s important to note that we do take at least two meetings to get to know you, get to know your brand, and run through our story-analysis proven process. First we determine if documentary films best suit you, then determine who will be the best interviewees to represent you. We also draft out what questions we need to ask in order to get the ideal narrative outline. It’s important to also note that we tend to deviate from our outline if necessary when the interviewee goes a bit off subject, or something spontaneous comes up. These deviations are not always a waste of time or rambling – some of the best narrative is obtained this way, because it’s in the moment – it’s genuine!
Ultimately, that’s the key here – we want to keep everything genuine to you, your personality, and your brand.
Nowadays, we’ve all seen the inauthentic goofy sales commercials from the 90s, or even worse – the dry and drab online video that so many corporations made in 2008 with the same royalty-free music, over-enthusiastic voice over or text talking about how WE’RE THE BEST. These may have been effective in their time, because despite being cheesy, they got the word out. Today, bad marketing efforts can actually be worse than no marketing at all. People have their antenna’s up for B.S. these days, especially in business, and it’s not enough to talk about what you do.
Like Simon Sinek says “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
People buy your story and your beliefs.
This is why internal culture and core values in your brand is so important. If you have strong values that you hold to – that should be evident in your brand’s culture and it’s marketing. If it’s murky and inconsistent, that’s not a good sign. If it’s not fully fleshed out, we want to help you get clarity. Sometimes these marketing films are the ambitious and necessary first step to solidifying those values within your company.
By helping you find the key moments or “arcs” in your story, cultivating an environment for you to tell that story, and keeping the focus on authenticity and why you and your company does what it does, you have the ingredients for powerful narrative that is very high value.
Nobody else has your story, so nobody else can tell it like you can.
Mike is Head of Marketing here at Votary, a film director/producer and a musician. He’s been a part of Votary’s origin the longest besides our founder Jed. His mind is always running and creating and flowing with ideas. His strengths are finding the truth behind a message and a person’s story as a writer and director, understanding Votary’s market and voice, as well as envisioning finished edits in detail while in the brainstorm phase. Votary’s Development process has been informed by his interview style and drive to understand storytelling framework deeper while leaving room for genuine personality, especially in documentary filmmaking. His drive comes from wanting to know people’s truest self and being able to explore pure creative expression.