So, you have this spiffy new Ydraw video ready to download and share with the world.
Don’t leave what happens next to chance. How you market your video will make a huge difference in how many of the RIGHT people actually WATCH it.
That’s where a social media marketing plan can help. If you’re thinking, “I already have a marketing plan.” Good for you. You’re already a few steps ahead.
But, if that plan doesn’t spell out exactly how you’ll take advantage of the amazingly effective, and mostly free, opportunities on social media marketing sites – then sit down and take some notes.
Your class on Social Media Marketing 101 just got started.
1. GET NOTICED:
Basically, if your business isn’t active on the main social media sites, you may not exist yet to your target consumer.
To give you an idea of how many people are regularly using the most common social media sites, here’s a quick summary of the current numbers, according to Statista:
Facebook: 2.23 billion profiles, with 1.45 billion users visiting daily.
YouTube: Over 1 billion users, with over 500 million hours of videos watched daily.
Instagram: 800 million users and adding over 100 million in the last year alone.
LinkedIn: Over 562 million profiles in more than 200 countries worldwide.
Twitter: 335 million active users visit Twitter monthly.
Pinterest: 200 million monthly active users, predominantly female.
Can you really afford to pass up that kind of exposure?
Or, better question, why would you want to?
2. PEOPLE WANT VIDEO:
Mike Henry said, “We’re operating in a world where ONE GOOD VIDEO can lead to a massive social following.”
Now you have that good video – so what do you do with it?
Not only does social media offer an incredible marketing opportunity, but posts that use video have a much higher conversion rate on all of the social media platforms. Check out just a few of the many powerful statistics on the impact of video in this infographic created by The E Word.
So, if your consumer is browsing Facebook, your video should be on Facebook. If they’re tweeting about their morning bagel, your video should be popping up on their Twitter feed. When they’re scrolling their LinkedIn at lunch, you want that video to smack them right in the face. YouTube? Instagram? Same story – different channel.
Social media allows you to deliver your video to your target consumer on a silver platter.
3. START A CONVERSATION:
You don’t want your marketing plan to be a monologue. Your target consumer really only cares about themselves. If you’re doing all the talking – that doesn’t mean that they’re doing all the listening.
Instead, put your video out there and start a dialogue. Use your video as a springboard into building a community. This will also make your brand relatable and that will attract even more followers.
4. MARKET MORE; SPEND LESS:
Did I mention that social media marketing is …. FREE? That’s right. It costs ZERO dollars to set up business profiles on social media sites and begin posting.
Now, you may eventually choose to pay for ad campaigns that will further your reach, and many companies find it very effective, but you certainly do not have to do that to get started and get your video out there.
Plus, since we already discussed how much more effective video is as a marketing tool on social media, you’ll get pretty good reach without paying another buck.
5. FREE FOCUS GROUPS:
You know the value of focus groups when branding your business or making business decisions.
Well, with social media marketing, you have access to a focus group – 24/7, 365 days a year, that never sleeps, never slows down, and is actively engaging in dialogue on what they like and don’t like.
There has never before been a greater opportunity to talk directly with your target consumer whenever you want than today – on social media.
So, gather information by reading and following their conversations. Or, utilize free tools on platforms like Sprout Social and Hootsuite, where you can access trending conversations pertaining to your target market.
Take it a step further and download apps like Instagram Insights, WhenToPost and Crowdfire to learn more about what is really engaging your target audience and when they’re online looking for it.
You can even learn about your competitor’s performance and connect with Instagram influencers on apps like Iconosquare.
And – yep, you guessed it – it’s all free.
The bottom line is – we live in unique technological times that can sometimes present challenges, but in other cases, offer you an incredibly insightful, effective, and affordable opportunity to connect with your target consumer like never before.
Leverage whatever you can to promote your video and your brand!
And, if you have any questions on how Ydraw can support you in developing your own social media marketing plan, please reach out. We can’t wait to hear from you.
Everyone wants a viral video. In fact, that’s what most of our clients ask for when they come to us. But, when it’s time to look at our Art Styles page – many clients panic and think,
“What if I choose the wrong one?”
That’s why we are going to talk about the difference that art choice can make to your video and a few things to think about when choosing yours. Because although we pride ourselves on working with the most talented artists in the industry – that doesn’t mean that every one of them is the best choice for your project.
Let me tell you a short story.
Once upon a time, a client named Booz Allen came to us for their first whiteboard animation video. They are a serious, respected firm with very serious, important clients. Even though this video was internal, they wanted it to be serious, professional, and aspirational.
But, there was just one thing.
Their Scriptwriter had a gut instinct – what if we juxtaposed the informational tone of the script with a fun, unexpected art style like Calvin & Hobbes to create a surprise effect?
Well, Booz Allen decided to go with Semi-Realistic instead. Here’s the first scene from the first set of images delivered by their choice of artist:
This works. It gets the job done. However, Booz Allen isn’t in the business of just getting the job done. So, they made the command decision to switch artists (for a small fee).
Here’s the first scene again – with the exact same script – rendered in the Calvin & Hobbes style:
Now THAT’s memorable!
Just using a different art style brings the script to life in a completely new way.
In fact, this style was such a huge hit –they have made dozens of videos since in this style.
This is a perfect example of how the right art style can truly elevate a project.
So, what should you consider when choosing the art style for your project?
Here are 3 things to consider:
What is the tone of your script – what feelings does the voiceover evoke? And, what do you want the mood to be of your video? Some examples might by light-hearted and humorous. Other scripts are heavy, covering more serious subject matter. Or, maybe you just want an approachable, informational tone. For example, this video we made for Volunteers of America was designed to be beautiful, moving and inspiring. Using our YPaint style, the images are digitally revealed and we incorporated an animated fine line connecting them to support this vision:
ELEMENT OF SURPRISE:
Now, just because your tone and mood are serious – doesn’t mean your art style has to be! By using an unexpected pairing, you create the element of surprise! Examples of this could be the Booz Allen video – which pairs a fun, youthful art style with serious internal subject matter. Or, take a look at this video for the marketing company, Ribyt. They used color to create an element of surprise, by staying all B&W except for their brands green.
Another way to create an element of surprise is to use a mixed-media approach, by combining different types of video footage. In this case, Vital Smarts used a mixture of live video and whiteboard animation:
Sometimes the right art style is the one that will appeal most to your audience.
Ask yourself, “What would my target consumer want to see?”
After all, you’re making this video for them, right?
That’s exactly what our client, Wilson Electronics, had in mind when we created this short, one-scene video in our Cartoony style to capture the feeling that people have when they realize their cell phone signal hasn’t been working:
Be willing to think outside the box when choosing an artist!
The right art style will pair perfectly with your script and grab the attention of your audience.
We love working with our clients to discuss options, send samples, and help guide you to choosing the perfect art style for your project.
You ever wonder what it costs to produce an advertisement? At Ydraw we turn down a mountain of clients each and every week because they feel our prices are just too much. But how do our prices stack up against other companies? And just how cost effective is a whiteboard animation compared to other forms of advertising on the market?
Let’s do this thing.
I’m going to start with whiteboard animation, since that’s what Ydraw is primarily known for — though our library is quite diverse in terms of the types of products we offer.
A whiteboard animation running sixty seconds costs $7,500. This includes the customer’s choice of voice over artist, visual artist, a screenplay, and music/SFX.
Here’s an example:
Now, check out these prices for various forms of advertising, per Adage.com:
The average outlay for a commercial during the fifth season of AMC‘s “The Walking Dead,” making it the costliest scripted series on TV. The Oct. 12, 2014, season premiere drew 17.3 million viewers; the March 29 season finale, 15.8 million. According to averages from media buyers compiled by Ad Age during the upfronts; ratings according to Nielsen.
The amount Snapchat demands per “Brand Story” ad, a branded post (or “snap”) that appears within the app’s “Stories” feed. Snapchat doesn’t disclose user numbers. According to media buyers interviewed by Ad Age, January 2015.
The cost for a thousand impressions on Hulu for standard run-of-site in-stream video ads, with a minimum requirement of two ads per campaign. According to Hulu’s rate card, March 2015.
The cost of 30 seconds of ad time in the championship game of the 2015 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament on CBS, when Duke will take on Wisconsin. That’s up from $1.49 million in 2014. Last year the championship game averaged 21.2 million viewers, down from 23.4 million in 2013. According to Kantar Media, Nielsen and media buyers interviewed by Ad Age.
The average cost for 30 seconds of commercial time in prime time broadcast TV last year. That’s up from $110,00 in 2013. According to Nielsen
The average cost of a 30-second commercial during “The Big Bang Theory” on CBS, the most expensive comedy on TV. “Big Bang” averaged 16.7 million viewers this season through March 12. According to Ad Age interviews with media buyers during the 2014 upfronts; audience according to Nielsen
The cost of one full-color ad on the front page of The New York Times. To appear on the Times’ front page, though, marketers must commit to a certain frequency, such as front-page ads every Tuesday for six months; the total cost of running frequent page-one ads would likely top $1 million. According to current and former Times executives interviewed by Ad Age, March 2015.
The average cost of a thousand impressions for a 30-second commercial in broadcast prime time in 2014, down from $25.06 in 2013. According to Nielsen
The cost of a thousand impressions for a sponsored photo on Instagram, down from $40 in 2013 when Instagram first rolled out ads. Instagram says more than 300 million people around the world check out the photo-sharing app each month. Instagram’s minimum ad spend is $200,000. According to rate cards provided to media buyers by Instagram in spring 2015, before any discounts; minimum spend is according to a media buyer interviewed by Ad Age, March 2015.
The cost of a thousand impressions for a sponsored video on Instagram. According to rate cards provided to media buyers by Instagram in spring 2015, before any discounts.
The cost of four weeks on Times Square’s biggest billboard, Clear Channel’s eight-story sign on Broadway from West 45th Street to West 46th Street. According to sources familiar with the sign’s cost as of March 2015.
Can you imagine paying over a million dollars for an ad that runs less than one minute?
Obviously, these are extreme examples. Here are some you might be more familiar with, according to this website:
National TV Advertising
Setup Cost — $63,000 to $8 million
Cost of Media — Approx. $342,000 per 30 second ad
National Magazine Advertising
Setup Cost — $500 to $397,800
Cost of Media — Approx. $250,000 per ad
National Newspaper Advertising
Setup Cost — $11 to $1.4 million
Cost of Media — Approx. $113,000 per ad
Direct Mail Marketing
Setup Cost — $50 to $7,200
Cost of Media — Approx. $51.40 per order
Setup Cost — $1,000 to $5,200
Cost of Media — $7-$70 per hour, or $35 – $60 per lead
National Search Engine Optimization
Setup Cost — $4,000 to $10,000
Cost of Media — Free, though it’s roughly $500 per month for an internet marketer
National Pay Per Click Marketing
Setup Cost — $4,000 to $10,000
Cost of Media — $0.05-$3 per qualified visitor, plus $500 per month to internet marketer
National Email Marketing
Setup Cost — $4,000 to $10,000
Cost of Media — $0.05 – $3 per qualified visitor, plus $500 per month to internet marketer
Web Content Marketing Campaign
Setup Cost — $6,000 to $12,000
Cost of Media — Free
A Whiteboard video falls in line with the final choice: Web Content Marketing Campaign. So, while the upfront cost of $7,500 for a sixty-second ad might throw you off, consider it a lifetime investment in terms of how you can promote your business.
Other campaigns, such as magazine or newspaper ads require constant updates and monthly fees. And while you’re certainly guaranteed to get a lot of impressions, chances are only a small percent of them are catering to your audience.
You have a little more leeway in this regard with a television or radio ad since you can choose which time of day, or programs to run it; therefore, guaranteeing the audience is at least fit for your product.
But, again, the fees. Lots and lots of fees. Plus, such ads quickly become dated. Or, they may not even be seen at all!
According to an article written in The Guardian in 2010 (!), it was reported that nearly 90% of audiences skipped through TV advertising. Such is common practice in today’s high-tech world of streaming services, and DVR satellite systems that let you fast forward through advertisements.
Ask yourself: when was the last time you truly paid attention to the commercials during a TV show, sporting event (outside of the Super Bowl), or movie you were watching?
In my house, we have our smart TV connected with our Google Movies account. Between that and Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go, our exposure to TV advertising is quite limited.
Same with radio, where most ads go unheard because there are so many more convenient streaming options for music these days.
Now, the thing about a Whiteboard video, specifically, is that it features eye-catching visuals that are designed to attract an audience’s attention. And there are so many inexpensive ways to market them.
Yeah, Facebook charges a fee to advertise on their site, as does YouTube, and Instagram. According to FitSmallBusiness.com:
The short answer is $0.65 per click in the US. In other words, every $65 you put into Facebook gives you around 100 clicks on your ad, according to the Salesforce Advertising Index Q3 2015.
You can put your Whiteboard video on Facebook, and then, using the site’s unique features, ensure it gets seen by your target audience. You can customize the features to allow only specific states or regions to see your content, and you only pay when a potential client clicks your ad. That cuts out a lot of needless excess cost.
No, I’m not here to advertise for Facebook, but merely to demonstrate the myriad of ways you can use a Whiteboard video. You can post them on YouTube, or simply post them on your website. You can share them with clients, potential clients; use them at shows, and even put them on TV if you’ve got the budget.
And you can do all of this for $7,500!
There’s no worrying about OCD directors, stuck up actors, shooting schedules, or the myriad of problems that exist with a live-action commercial production. Check out this quote from JLB Media Productions:
The DGA (Director’s Guild of America), of which I am a member, considers low budget commercial work to be $75,000 per day, up to $225,000 for a three-day production. Most national commercials are several hundred thousand dollars up to a few million dollars. Directors are typically paid anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 per day of shooting, but many times that means $25,000 for a one-day shoot that also involves two weeks of prep and another week bidding on the job against other directors.
And that doesn’t factor in the aforementioned cost to advertise your product. Smaller production companies will charge less, but the result more often than not looks like this:
Yikes! Does that ad reflect the company it’s promoting well?
Now, check out this Whiteboard video, which cost less to produce:
See the difference? Which business looks more professional? Which one required the least amount of time and headaches to produce?
So, before you dish out a gazillion dollars on a thirty-second TV, radio, or newspaper ad, give Ydraw a call. Our process is simple and guaranteed to produce the results you’re looking for.
Do you ever wonder how a voice artist lands his or her big break? What’s the secret to standing out amidst a crowded field of eager-to-please actors, all of whom probably have more experience, more training, and more passion than you?
I’m here to give you a few tips on what it takes to land that big breakthrough voice acting gig you’ve been striving for. After reading this, there’s no reason to believe you can’t become the next Marcus Bentley. And if you don’t know who that is, I’m afraid you’re not quite as devoted to the sacred art of voice acting work. (This is a joke.)
A BRIEF HISTORY
Voice actors have existed since the invention of radio. Maybe even before that. I picture a group of cavemen sitting around a fire watching one of their own silently act out a recent hunt, while another caveman narrates the story. Perhaps they even use animals for sound FX?
The history of the voice actor does date back quite a few years — before the Titanic sunk, in point of fact. Before the invention of the vacuum cleaner, tea bags, radar, the electric washing machine, water coolers, paper cups, hair dryers, kiss-proof lipstick, and movies with sound. We had voice actors before we had submachine guns.
It is commonly believed that the first voiceover was from Walt Disney, as Mickey Mouse in “Steamboat Willie.” And although this was a long time ago, in 1928, in actual fact the first voice over was in 1900! This historical achievement belongs to Reginald Fessenden, a Canadian inventor. He was thrilled with Alexander Graham Bell’s new device, the telephone, and set out to create a way to remotely communicate without wires. The beginning of “Wireless!” In 1900, working for the United States Weather Bureau, Fessenden recorded the very first voice over: a test he made reporting the weather.
He was also the first voice of radio. In Boston, in 1906, during the Christmas season, he recorded an entire program of music, Bible texts, and Christmas messages to ships out at sea.
From these early artists stemmed a number of talented voice actors, including Mel Blanc, Walt Disney, and Don LaFontaine. Now, seriously, if you don’t know the LaFontaine, you seriously have zero passion for this line of work, as he is to movie trailers what Tom Brady is to football — the GOAT:
These guys had it easy, as they were the pioneers in what would become a rather lucrative profession that millions of people are now trying to break into. Who doesn’t want to earn a nice chunk of change by sitting in a booth for a couple hours a day? It’s every stay-at-home parent’s ultimate dream! (Well, that and a robot that takes care of house vermin — i.e., children and pets.)
So, how do you land this gig? Most people have no idea how to present themselves to a company. At Ydraw, we get several emails a week from various voice actors, but rarely choose any of them simply because they don’t do anything to stand out from the rest of the pack.
Or they show up in sandals. Never show up in sandals.
Look, simply calling a business and saying, “Hey, I’m a voice artist,” won’t land you any gigs. Neither will sending an email outlining your work history — unless you’ve worked with Paul McCartney. Then all bets are off.
In this day and age, anyone and everyone can do practically anything if they have the right equipment. Heck, machines can make even the most incompetent singers sound semi professional … as anyone who saw the recent Beauty and the Beast will attest.
So, how do you make your voice work stand out? It’s really simple. Just follow these complicated steps:
DO A SAMPLE FOR FREE
You read that right. For a business to gauge whether or not your talents meet their requirements, they need to see, nay, hear you in action. Again, it does a business manager or recruiter no good to read resumes, or listen to blab about your ingenuity over the phone.
Take Ydraw for example. The videos we produce require unique talent. And while past videos/portfolios may demonstrate your ability to perform at a high level, we can’t know for sure if you’d make a good fit with our company until we get a chance to hear your voice set over our beautiful designs.
Providing a free audition is the best way to turn any business manager’s head, mainly because they’re cheap and love the word “free”, but also because it shows you are 100% willing to do whatever it takes to land a gig. Well, almost anything.
Here’s an idea. When applying for a particular gig, research the various voice actors employed by the company in question. Then, figure out a way to separate yourself from the pack. Do something that makes that company realize what their current crop of talent is lacking. For example, you could take one of their fully produced videos, copy the script, and provide your own voice over. You could rework the script, thus demonstrating even more creative talent, or add something completely new to the production that blows the company away.
Bam! Now, you’re not only showing off your skill, but also your value.
If it were Ydraw, and you sent us something amazing, we’d figure out a way to utilize your talents whether we were hiring or not. If you rock, we want you to rock for us. Get it?
Even if you don’t land the gig, just getting your stuff out there is important. Who knows? Maybe we’ll look you up down the road, or connect you with a client in need of radical services.
You heard that right. Radical.
Just because you’re not a fit at the present time doesn’t mean you won’t be added to the rotary phone speed dial.
DO SOMETHING CREATIVE
Another avenue to explore is to do something worthy of a Keanu, “Whoa!”
– Send a tape with you performing different voices – Read from a crazy book – Write a hilarious script, then read it back to us – Sing something amazing (just not Adele) – Perform a script reading with your cat – Read something while setting yourself on fire (disclaimer: this is a joke. Please don’t do this.) – Read Biblical versus with a Scottish accent
Ok, most of those are terrible ideas, but you get the gist. Do something that will make us remember you. Don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself. Hollywood is full of strange audition tales. Heck, Sean Young showed up at Warner Bros. dressed as Catwoman hoping to land the gig that ultimately went to Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns. Me-ouch?
At least she tried, right?
Auditioning is a process of trial and error. You’ll likely fail more times than you succeed, as the old adage goes, but all you need is one success for your career to take off to crazy new heights.
Just stay away from bland e-mails that follow this boring template: “Hi, I’m Bob. I’m a good voice over artist. I would like to work for your company. I’ve done a lot of voice over work. See attached. I’ll do a script for you for a small fee to show off my talents. I own a home studio with an ISDN patch. Blah, blah, blah …”
Seriously? Don’t let that be your pitch. Also, don’t fill the subject line with: “Do you use voice actors?” No. 1, it’s not very catchy, and will instantly be ignored. No. 2, what? No. 3, it shows you haven’t done the proper research. That’s like walking into Best Buy asking if they sell electronics — which happened, a lot. At least when I worked there.
Try something like this in the subject line: “Your next great voice actor has arrived!” Then, produce an e-mail that caters to the company’s needs:
This is Bob,
I’m perhaps the greatest voice actor in town, and I’d love to work for your company. I could bore you with a recap of my work history, but you’re most likely busy and eager to move onto the next e-mail. So, I’ve attached a very special audio file. It’s me performing one of your videos. Except, I’m using a cockney accent, because, after reviewing your collection of awesome videos, I realized you don’t have anyone who can speak in a cockney accent. Give it a listen, then give me a call.
If you sent me that e-mail, I’d read it and probably get a kick out of it. And even if I didn’t end up hiring you, I’d certainly remember your audition for future reference.
TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN
You can never be too good at anything, so why not continue to improve? An article I found on Backstage.com delves into this aspect of the business:
Like learning to swim, you have to get into the water. You can’t figure it out by walking around the edge of the pool. One of the key things to learn is the different script genres within the commercial genre, i.e., real person, announcer, spokesperson, character, banter, PSA, etc. There are other genres and they all require different interpretive skills and talents. Promos, audiobooks, character animation, and ADR are the most popular. There’s also comedy and drama to be considered, and some folks may have a knack for one or the other. In addition to knowing the genres, training includes timing, relaxation, projecting a naturalistic tone, microphone technique, releasing inhibitions, and learning to create the world of a script within a lonely, lifeless recording booth. Unlike acting for film, TV or stage, you don’t typically have other actors or props with which to interact. You do it all with your imagination!
Don’t settle for second, third, or fourth best. You must understand that, no matter how much practice you’re putting into a skill, someone, somewhere is putting in twice as much. And they probably aren’t dating anyone, which means they have a lot of time on their hands.
Make yourself stand out by being so inundated with talent that you’ll literally leave our jaws on the floor with just one audition. Make a company need to have you.
Our No. 1 go-to voice actor, Dawson McKay, worked in every aspect of show business before breaking in as a voice actor. In his own words:
Growing up, I fell in love with the most colorful of entertainers: The Muppets, David Copperfield, and KISS all created fantasy worlds to which we could escape, and I studied their every move.
Over the years, I searched for my ideal creative outlet, working professionally in magic, puppetry, radio, cartooning, sound design, video editing, and acting. I finally found my home in voice over, which allows an actor to play everything from rock star to puppet to your friendly guy-next-door. Performing in front of a live audience is always a rush, but I do love when the curtain goes up and the lights go on in my studio and it’s time to perform … your copy.
Dawson studied acting, worked tirelessly on inflections, pronunciations, etc. And he didn’t stop until he landed his big break. Now, he not only works for us, but a number of high profile companies, as seen on his website, http://www.dawsonvo.com/.
— When you call, offer to do a sample for free
— Send something creative, be it a crazy recording session, or you doing an impersonation of Charlton Heston from the Ten Commandments … make yourself stand out
— Train as if your life depended on it, because, in truth, it kind of does
Voice acting is one of the more enjoyable, rewarding, and lucrative careers a person could strive for. One great gig could land you roles in cartoons, commercials, or even movies. It’s a life changing career.
So, what are you waiting for? Stop reading this right now, and go out there and put these suggestions to good use. Then come back and pay me a manager fee. I’m not kidding. I want 30% of whatever you make.
Most everyone loves a good movie. Be it a thriller, comedy, romance, or science fiction, film remains an important staple in pop culture if only due to its profound ability to make us feel raw emotion on a purely visceral level.
What’s the secret?
Well, there’s not any one reason that elevates a mediocre film to blockbuster status. Good directing, acting, writing, editing, etc., all contribute to a film’s success. However, I’ve always held the belief that the most important element to any film, TV, or commercial lies in the musical choices selected to accompany the images on screen.
Need an example?
Watch this YouTube video that uses a scene from Steven Spielberg’s Jaws to make this exact point:
The first half of the video plays sans John Williams’ iconic score. The second half is accompanied by the maestro. Which do you prefer?
Here’s another dramatic example taken from Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial*. The first video, again, plays sans music (the score cuts off around 22 seconds), while the second video features the same scene with Williams’ magical score. (Fast forward to the minute mark in the second video to watch the scene under review.)
*Spielberg’s films often employ a heavy musical arrangement, almost always composed by John Williams, which is why I’m using sequences from his films specifically to make my point.
Let’s venture into the “smaller” realm of television, where budget constraints often limit what a producer/director is able to accomplish on the sound stage. Here’s a clip from Breaking Bad. Actually, it’s the final scene of what many consider the greatest TV show of all time. (In other words, spoilers may ensue.)
The show’s creator, Vince Gilligan, opted to use an upbeat rock song to wrap up the tragic tale of Walter White/Heisenberg. It’s a bittersweet moment summed up perfectly through the song’s lyrics, which, if you listen carefully, go a long way in summarizing the series in its entirety.
Interestingly, Gilligan, actually had to fight to keep the song in place as his music supervisor, Thomas Golubic, felt the music didn’t fit the scene, as explained to RollingStone in 2013:
“But in came the dailies, with that wonderful crane shot moving over Walter White, and once we played the song, [we thought], ‘Oh, I get it now,'” Golubić continues. “This is a love-affair story of Walt and his love of science, and this was his greatest product – his greatest triumph as a chemist. It wasn’t about Walter White as a criminal or a murderer or an awful person. It was him ending on his own terms. It felt creatively right.”
The music renders the final scene of Breaking Bad both sad, and heroic, as the man we had come to both love and fear arrived at his final denouement amongst his greatest accomplishment — a methamphetamine factory.
As you can see — or hear — music goes a long way in helping a TV show or motion picture transcend its purpose as a bit of entertainment into a surreal artistic experience.
The same goes for commercials, which have a limited amount of time to capture our attention.
Check out this ad, which runs a lengthy three minutes in length, but utilizes a simple theme — helping people — to sell, above all things, insurance. Note the music, as it turns playful, dramatic, sad, happy …
Now, imagine this ad without music. Would it feel the same? Would it feel too long? Would the emotional impact still resonate? The message would undoubtedly remain powerful, but would we feel the sentiment? Even if you don’t remember the music, it still reverberates on a subconscious level.
That being said, sometimes a lack of music can be just as pivotal to a story’s success. Remember the T-Rex scene in Jurassic Park, another Spielberg/Williams collaboration? Think back and try to remember the music that was played during this very intense encounter between man and beast.
You can’t, can you?
That’s because there was no music. Yet, that sequence is one of the more thrilling and intense moments ever captured on film, and it’s driven almost entirely by sound FX — beginning with the rain thumping on the roof of the cars enclosing the film’s main protagonists, the forceful boom accompanying Rexy’s footsteps, the occasional burst of thunder; all of which build to a terrifying attack in which cars are flipped, lawyers are chomped, and dinosaurs run amok. Is it far-fetched to say a musical score during this sequence would’ve lessened its impact?
During last year’s American Film Institute tribute to John Williams, the maestro, in a rare behind the scenes interview, posited that one of the most important aspects of his job was sitting down with the director to decide which scenes didn’t need music.
Sometimes silence is more powerful than a grandiose soundtrack.
Let’s turn now and look at how music affects audiences.
In a study conducted by Psychology Today in 2013, a scene from Spielberg’s Minority Report was shown to a group of 245 college students, 111 of which hadn’t seen the movie. The scene in question, a riveting escape sequence through a shopping mall, is accompanied by Henry Mancini’s “Moon River” ballad rather than traditional action music. Although, you’d be forgiven if you didn’t catch the tune as its placed subtly in the background as if playing through the mall’s speaker system.
This use of music, according to film scholars, is called “diegetic music”, or music that exists within the film’s universe. “Nondiegetic music” is the term used to describe a score that accompanies a scene, ala the music in the above Jaws and E.T. videos.
The same scene was shown to the students three separate times: once in its original form using the diegetic background music, the second time with the same “Moon River” song, except this time played over the scene — in other words, as a traditional music score — and a third time with conventional action music lifted from another one of Williams’ scores.
The results, particularly from those who had never seen the movie, were fascinating, as reported by Psychology Today:
Specifically: participants who watched the original diegetic version (music sounding like it was inside the shopping mall)
perceived the scene as more tense and suspenseful
perceived the relationship between the male and female as more antagonistic, and more unfriendly and hostile
believed the two characters had known each other longer
assumed the female was more fearful and suspicious of the male
assumed the male was more fearful and suspicious of the female
believed the male character wanted to harm the female
perceived the female to be less romantically interested in the male
and perceived the male to be less romantically interested in the female
… than those who had watched the same scene with the same music presented as a dramatic score (nondiegetic).
The second and third iterations containing the nondiegetic scores resulted in very different reactions, as “those who watched the scene with the ‘chase music’ believed the woman wanted to harm the man, while those who watched it with ‘Moon River’ (played nondiegetically) thought she was out to help him.”
That’s a long way to explain how music can shape a video as much, if not more, than the visuals on screen. The wrong piece of music can destroy a quality production almost as quickly as a bad actor.
So, where does this leave us?
At Ydraw, we have a resourceful group of writers, editors and animators that come together to create the best videos imaginable for a number of companies across the world.
Yet, one of the more pivotal aspects of the videos we produce remains — you guessed it — music.
Drawing from a library of resources, Ydraw’s editors carefully integrate music (and sound FX) into our videos during the final phase of production. Except, if the music doesn’t fit, the video doesn’t work. It’s that simple.
As a former editor, I’ve seen, or been a part of, a number of videos that worked visually, but just didn’t quite deliver on an emotional level. That is, until I altered the music. That’s right, a few extra minutes of shuffling a score can make or break the final product.
Here’s some examples of Ydraw produced videos that boast terrific soundtracks:
Pretty cool, right? The music in these videos was purchased from stock music sources, and then edited accordingly. In each instance, the music goes a long way in creating a particular emotion.
Here’s another Ydraw video featuring an above average soundtrack:
Notice anything different? The music for this particular video was produced by one of our freelancers, namely Rotem Hecht, who specializes in music composition. This talented artist takes the project after it’s been assembled, and designs a score specifically for that video.
Would the video have worked with stock music? Certainly. But Rotem’s score injects powerful emotion into an already potent production, and makes it even better. Note how the pace of the video never falters, but, rather, flows rhythmically, gradually building towards a rousing climax, followed by soft piano that accentuates the overarching message.
Also, it’s important to point out that the music never overtakes the visuals. Instead, the animation and musical composition work hand in hand in telling the dramatic story. Combined with a powerful script, and an effective voice over, this video goes a long way in establishing an emotional connection with its core audience.
More importantly, because of his lucrative experience, Rotem’s turnaround time for producing one of his fantastic scores is typically a little under twenty-four hours. That’s incredible.
His name may not be John Williams, but Rotem aptly lifts Ydraw’s videos from tremendous achievements to something akin to an extraordinary Celestial encounter. Seriously, he’s that good.
Need more convincing?
Check out his website www.rotemmusic.com to listen to the various commercials, corporate ads, games, TV shows, and even films Rotem has scored over the years.
And then give us a call so we can start working on the next great Ydraw video for you!