What makes things funny? Our own sense of humor isn’t always funny to the guy sitting next to us. So, let’s look at a few simple principles used in Improv to make your video funny to all of your audience!
First and foremost, there is TRUTH in COMEDY! The funny comes from the experiences we have all had in our lives. Think about sitcoms, why do they work? They take something so simple, like everyday life and exploit it. The ups and downs of dating and heartbreak or fighting for that perfect job, only to find out that it isn’t so perfect. But where does the comedy come from?
The funny comes from the unexpected. The moments of truth. It comes from showing not telling. We have all been there…the time in the grocery store when two people are having a conversation in public and you can’t help but listen, even though you know the topic should have probably been left at home…yeah that stuff.
So let’s take a look at this funny scenario….
We see two shadowy figures digging holes in a graveyard. It’s dark, but we can see that there’s a body behind them. It appears that they are covering up a murder! The scene is quite grim and creepy… so how is this funny? The car lights flicker on and we get a better look of the situation… only to reveal…two clowns? Okay, now this is way more terrifying, but their must be more to the story… so as we get closer, we overhear…
Clown 1:“Look Stan, all I’m saying is I’m sorry she left you. You deserve better!”
Clown 2:“You know Joe I just don’t understand, I did everything I could to make her happy.”
Clown 1:“Hey, you know, it’s okay if you want to cry. It’s just us brother.”
Clown 2: (in tears) “Life is just so unfair! But hey how’s the wife and kids?”
Clown 1: “They’re real good. Sally just started walking…”
The conversation continues as they are digging a shallow grave wearing their clown costumes. So, we know they are clowns, we know they are friends, and we know what happened…but they don’t have to tell us that they murdered this guy. We just know! If we focused on the body, or what happened the scene would drag on, the audience would get board with details and information that they don’t need.
This scenario leads us to the truth of comedy…Relatability!
Think about how you feel when you pop bubble wrap. Did that put a smile on your face just thinking about it? How about when you scoop peanut butter from a freshly open jar, yeah there’s that satisfaction face. See how easy it is to relate? All you have to do is capture a moment when someone has used your product in such a way that it brings a clear feeling to your audience.
Just remember that comedy is subjective, but so is being bored out of your seat. By using these tried and true principles of Improv Comedy, you can help your audience laugh at the unexpected, learn about your great product/service and keep them interested and wanting more.
So, let’s get out there and take a fresh approach to comedy, and whatever you do, if you see two clowns walking your way…RUN!
Teddy Roosevelt has been quoted many a time, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” And this goes especially for Marketing to Your Audience!
You see, you CAN begin your marketing by sharing your giant Pedigree* of Success, your giant Rolodex* of clients that come at your every beck and call, and your impressive collection of Vintage Star Wars action figures, boxed in mint condition. BUT THEY DON’T CARE!
Okay…maybe the Star Wars figures, I mean especially if they have that one Rare Boba Fett*…
My point being, don’t make your first impression with your audience ABOUT YOU. In fact, you may consider, minimizing the mention of “you” to the smallest amount possible. Your marketing NEEDS to be about THEM.
The Mom who is exhausted carrying around a giant purse that contains everything known on the periodic table of elements. She wants to know that you care about her and her plight, when you sell her your amazing, mega-organizational handbag.
Spend the time in your marketing, connecting with her. Show empathy for how hard it is to carry that overgrown purse. Use humor to help her have a chuckle about it because she knows how impossible it is to find that lip gloss when her chapped lips are screaming for moisture, and the kids are clawing their way to find a granola bar in there too. She will totally think to herself, “Been there done that!”
By doing this, you will establish a relationship with your audience, in this case the Moms of the world. Now, they’ll care to listen to YOU! You have their attention because you relate to each other, on an emotional level. You are selling a relationship BEFORE you sell a product or service. So now, proceed to show some of the cool features of this “Heavenly Handbag” and again relate those features to them.
On a side note, keep your features explanation brief. They don’t need to know the process of “cutting and stitching every nuanced detail” that you researched; they just want the HIGH LEVEL facts that relate to them. This will keep them EMOTIONALLY engaged in your marketing.
In the case that you do spend time talking about YOU, make sure it’s to show how you relate to them. The purpose of sharing this piece of you is to connect with them, and not to gloat about you or in any way make you seem superior. If you don’t connect with them, be on their level, share their emotions, they will see right through you and go elsewhere for a solution to their need.
So…QUICK 5 POINT RECAP
Marketing is about THEM
Sell a Relationship
NOW, get your groove on and practice that Electric Slide together! It’s all about the relationship, and your audience will respond to you once they know that you care about them.
*Pedigree – Pretty sure it’s some type of dog food.
*Rolodex – The Stone Age variety of a contact list on your smart phone. Geesh, writing all those cards sucked.
*Rare Boba Fett – A Boba Fett figure that was designed exclusively as a cereal box mail-in item in 1979. It was advertised with a Rocket firing backpack, but the actual production firing rocket was made stationary, as it was deemed a “choking hazard.” This figure is still highly sought after by collectors and has fetched upwards of 20K at auction.
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!
Things are changing in the video industry and Ydraw is changing with it. We have a couple of new styles of explainer videos that are going to blow your mind. lol
Curtis and I (Jace) spend a lot of time thinking about and discussing new ways to tell our customer’s stories. All we care about are your results. We want your videos to be successful. Just the other day, we were sitting in Chipotle going over the traditional story telling script style. Is it still effective?
For those who don’t know, a traditional style script starts off with a powerful headline, identifies the problem, gives the solution, and ends with a strong call to action. This has been used for years and it does work, but we think there needs to be more.
Explainer Videos and Stories.
Whenever I speak at conferences I like to open up with a story. There is something about a good story that gets my presentation started off on the right foot. We are not using them enough. So let me show you ways you can incorporate a better story into your new explainer video.
Video 1: Upgrade to a Testimonial Video
When a future customer is listening to your message, they want to know what you can do for them. They are hoping that you can solve a problem they’re experiencing in their life. Whether that problem is a simple want or an immediate need.
To often clients go way overboard on the features of their product or service. Features tell, benefits sell. A video that focuses on features does not perform at the top of the funnel. Feature based videos should be used at the bottom when a future customer has already looked into you business.
Make sure you write that down some place. It will change your business… 🙂
We decided to ask the question…If we were going to make a purchase, what kind of video would we want to see?
It would need three things:
1. Prove the product or service can solve my problem
2. Be very convincing (social proof)
3. Have a story behind it
Obviously we have all seen video testimonials before. They work! But a lot of them are lacking creativity and forget to focus on the actual story.
So here is what we came up with.
Have an actual customer tell their story (video testimonial), create graphics and images that show the story, and wrap it all up with emotional music.
We all get tired of boring educational videos. Unless they are creative, fun, and engaging.
Effective storytelling can be a great way to education an audience and persuade others to your point of view. A long lecture isn’t too convincing because they feel opinion-based. Which can be polarizing.
But a careful blending of rhetoric and facts woven into the right story can change minds.
We have done a couple of these styles of videos in the past, but we kind of took this educational explainer video to a whole new level.
If you’re in the market for a new explainer video that will persuade your audience the right way, then give us a call.