public speaking, Uncategorized

“It’s About Your Script.”

 

 

It doesn’t matter whether you are delivering an informative, persuasive or humorous speech.  The majority of people concentrate on how they are going to deliver their presentation, or what images will work best on their next Keynote/PowerPoint presentation.  They may then focus on whether to use notes or make an attempt to memorize their speech. And yet, no one really looks at the root of all public speaking problems and its solution–the script.

I’m writing this article for print and reading, but if I was delivering this as a speech, my writing would look quite different, in fact, it would look like a script, because essays are designed to be read, while scripts are crafted to be spoken.

scriptvsnovel

A script, like a novel, is written with words–and yet they are different.   Where a novel must set the scene, develop the characters, and create emotion with words; a script  must be spoken to an audience creating its energy by breathing life into each word.

How to Prepare Your Speech

Write it as if you are speaking.  Don’t write an essay, the words will be spoken not printed.  Double-space your script: This is for the purpose of making comments to yourself.

Underline adjectives and key phrases.  These are words that represent emotions.  What emotions do your words represent? If you aren’t sure then this is something a public speaking coach could help out with.

Practice by speaking out loud

I have walked into many high school and college English 1 classes to find students buried in reading a Shakespeare play like Romeo & Juliet or Julius Caesar–the key word is “buried,” because the room is silent as everyone is trying to stay awake reading silently.  Not one of Shakespeare’s plays was designed to be read like some novel–they were written to be SPOKEN! Because Shakespeare’s plays are scripts not novels.

Likewise, don’t practice reading your script for a speech or presentation silently to yourself, READ IT OUT LOUD.    Many people are embarrassed to read their speeches out loud, even when they’re alone, but will pay for it, at the lectern,  when that anxiety appears from hearing their voice, as if for the first time. At that point, awkwardness leads to a lack of confidence that fills the speaker, turning an opportunity to make a great impression into self resentment.

I have seen several good public speaking courses on video.  Likewise there are several good books teaching presentation topics from the boardroom to TED talks.  But both lack two key ingredients. (1) No system on how to choose the right words for impact, and (2) No live feedback from a qualified or professional public speaking coach.  When watching a video or reading a book, how do you know that you are doing it right? You need someone to hear your presentation, evaluate it, and return positive criticism that will encourage and improve your speech.

Public Speaking is a Skill

Unfortunately, videos and books can’t give you experience and feedback.  Experience comes from both practice and delivery to a live audience. Feedback comes from encouragement and direction from an experience coach.

Public speaking comes under the heading of communication as one of the most important foundational tools you can possess.  Public speaking is also the foundation to developing other business skills such as: Leadership, problem-solving, project management, sales and more.   Like any skill, public speaking is an ongoing process that leads to proficiency and beyond.

Looking for a Public Speaking Coach

I strongly believe people looking to learn or perfect their public speaking skills cannot get this experience from videos or books.  For over three decades I have taught public speaking\debate courses, been a theatrical director, playwrite, an actor, and a public speaking coach.  Three decades of hands-on experience working with beginners to professional speakers. I know I can help you in either my workshop setting or one-to-one coaching.  

It is said, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it can’t change you.”  Take the challenge to increase your self-confidence and put the nervousness under control.  If interested in learning more about my class settings and topics check out my website: https://PeteRome.com.

 

 

Storyteller Secrets

How Stories Grab Visibility

It was estimated that 12 million viewers watched Super Bowl LIII from home; if you add the restaurants, bars, and clubs who also tuned-in the total number of viewers was closer to 112.7 million people (according to the Nielsen report).  The commercial spot cost $175,000 dollars per second, or $5.25 Million dollars for 30 seconds.  What did these companies get for their money?  Visibility, Attention, and Connections.

First, Visibility.  There are 28 million businesses online and more being developed every day, but they are also competing with daily news, entertainment sites, social media and more.  If your site is camouflaged with the wrong message than you are invisible.

Second, Attention. The one thing all businesses have in common is to attract people to their site.  The average clocked time when viewing a site for the first time is 3-8 seconds.  If you can’t capture the viewer in this time segment you’ve lost a sale.

Rolin
Madonna of Chancellor Rolin 1434:                           Wikimedia Creative Commons

 

 

Third, Connections.  All the commercials in Super Bowl LIII made connections not only with the game but also the winner-The Patriots.  This type of connection is important, and has been done since ancient times.  In both the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods, rich patrons paid big money to commission well known artists to paint their likeness into a religious painting.  For example, the patron, Chancellor Rolin, is seen kneeling before the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus.  Putting him in the same picture with the Virgin and Child was a 14th Century branding spot.  It elevated his prestige among the people, his place in the nobility, and his place in Heaven.

Most businesses online could not even imagine having the funds to produce a 30-second Super Bowl commercial spot; however, everyone has a story to tell.  A story that makes the emotional connection can produce an action; if you have the right story to tell.  The key is to connect the emotions of the viewer to the product or service as a solution.

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Wikipedia: Creative Commons

Back in the 1980’s, there was a PSA on addressing the subject of drug addiction.  In 15 seconds the viewer would see an egg fried on a hot skillet.  The narrator had only 14 words: “Okay, last time. This is drugs.  This is your brain on drugs.  Any Questions?”   A quick storyline like this has three immediate points:  Attention, Arousal, and Action.  The commercial has had several parodies over the years, but the message is still clear.

I have written about the chemical changes that occur in the human brain when a story is told. It doesn’t matter whether the story is told by a person or an animation; the results are the same if emotions are triggered.  (See: The Perfect Story)

In March, I will be hosting a free Webinar to teach how to develop digital storytelling.  I will not be selling any books, CD’s, or material.  There will be time for questions.  If you are interested send a request for more information and to reserve your place.  Hope you will be able to join us online.

Peter.Rome@Mail.com

 

Storyteller Secrets

Digital Storytelling-P3

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The rules for digital stories have changed.  Story themes that go viral have created a new set of rules.  But the first rule that still applies--is your story compelling?  The six elements that work together to make this happen are: the message, content, visual images, color, action and timing.

Timing is more than the length of the story, it also represents viewer’s attention.  This is one reason I keep my daily blogs down to 500 words, that is about 2-minutes of reading  time out loud.  My blog competes with thousands of other blogs for not just your attention–but your time.

Digital stories have more elements to combine than regular storytelling, so the timing is very important in both presentation and delivery.  I cannot emphasize enough that a digital story should be created and developed on a storyboard—yesterday’s lesson.  A storyboard helps to craft and develop how the six elements bring continuity and appeal to attract visitors to your site.

Remember, that it is the message not the story you are really trying to deliver.  If this is a strategic story then the message has a call to action for a response step.  It all begins with your script.  Scripts are generally written in font 12 and double spaced.  Depending on the script, one page formatted in this matter could be equal to one-minute or more.

An actor can be a narrator’s voice, an actual person, an animated character, or even an object.  The story will have a certain pace to emphasize points towards your message.  Back in the 1980’s, John Moschitta, made several commercials for different companies.  He was known as the fastest speaker on record.  Here is an example of a 1980, 30-second commercial he made.

The fast pace kept the viewer’s attention because it motivated the listener to pay attention to the words.  Had John spoke at a normal speed this probably would have been a one-minute commercial.  The hook was John’s pace and lack of pauses, it forced the listener’s attention and was quite successful.

When to release your story is another timing issue.  If your digital story is for brand marketing or sales then Thursday’s and Sundays are the best days to reach customers surfing on the Net.  If your story pertains to a current event then releasing the story as soon as possible will be important.  Adding twitter hash marks will help . During the day, the best times for release are between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on the West Coast.  These times will vary across the world depending on highest commuter traffic.

Rehearsal is probably the last important key to timing.  I enjoy the character Data, an android character, on the Star Trek Next Generation series.  In this clip, Data is trying out his joke to Guinan (played by Woopie Goldberg).  What this clip will illustrate is that you can have quality material, but if timing is off, you lose reliability.  In humor that’s the punch line.  In Digital Storytelling that’s your message.

Storyteller Secrets

Digital Storytelling-P2

Walt_Disney_storyboardsBetween 1931 and 1968, Walt Disney won 32 Academy Awards and still holds the record for most individual Academy Awards won.  Walt was known for pushing the envelope in storytelling and making animation an entertainment for both children and adults.

The storyboards that were created by Disney artists were more than just good artwork, they served another special purpose.  Walt used his storyboards to tell his story to his artists.  He used voices and body gestures to act out the whole story as it appeared on the storyboard.

sketching-painting-digital-animation-softwares-classes-in-delhi1You might be thinking, okay that sounds good, but I’m not making a movie or animation.  True, but you are telling a story and  digital storytelling  opens up a multitude of digital multimedia choices.  But it all starts with the storyboard.

 

spielberg-storyboardsA storyboard is a pre-production map showing your story beginning, middle and ending.  Steven Spielberg is known as being a great storyteller.  All you have to do is see any of his movies from E.T. to Jurassic Park.  Spielberg even has his storyboards out on location so that he can prepare and direct his shots.

As I stated in yesterday’s blog, a storyboard is like a cartoon strip showing a quick shot of a scene, its action, dialog, and what music or sound effects are going on.

Here is a simple student’s storyboard.  You can follow the story as you work through each frame from 1 – 14.

storyboard

 Putting these image together creates the story in action.  Like below.

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storyboard-template-screen-shot-2016-05-24-at-10-48-29-am

You can draw your own storyboard or pick up a template like the one above online.

To learn how a storyboard works study this 30-second commercial.

This 30-second commercial has only four scenes.  Sometimes it helps to turn off the sound and just watch the visual action.  What’s the message?

The message is water is essential for your health.  The majority of the commercial is on a young male who appears to quenching his thirst after a workout.  The commercial ends with a bottle of water.  This commercial does not sponsor any particular water company.

A storyboard is absolutely necessary if you want to make a good digital story.  A storyboard helps in the post-production stage; making sure the images have continuity; deciding which music selection best works;  if any sound effect needs to be added; choosing the best text font to communicate the story’s theme; and making sure your message is clear.

Every image must be able to tell the story without the help of words or sound.  Remember a good story is passed on while a poor story is passed by.  What changes would you make in the above water commercial?  Which image needs to be changed to drive the point that power drinks and sodas are not helping the body to quench its thirst?

Tomorrow and the next few days, we will discuss Timing in regards to how long each scene should be, and the supporting actors like color, music, and sound effects choices.  If you have any questions send me an email.

Storyteller Secrets

Digital Storytelling-P1

A_Story-teller_reciting_from_the_"Arabian_Nights."_(1911)_-_TIMEA

For thousands of years, storytellers passed down their stories orally.  Around 8,000 years ago, the first story was recorded on a clay tablet called a cuneiform.  That story was called, “The Epic of Gilgamesh.”  Oral tradition was the preferred method of telling stories until the 15th Century when the printing press was invented.   Today, the magic of digital technology has created a whole new reality in storytelling–digital storytelling.

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Digital Storytelling can combine: pictures, video, multimedia, audio, hypertext, 2D & 3D animation, music, sound effects, text, and narrations into an interactive and engaging format that can motivate and increase learning across the board.  In addition, the four learning styles: auditory, visual, reading, and kinesthetic are in full force in the majority of good digital stories.

So, what is Digital Storytelling?  Jerome Gratigny did a fine job of telling exactly what it is.

But at its core is still the message.  The rest of the digital storytelling elements are metaphors that keep supporting the message.  Therefore, the music must become a metaphor for the message, the colors, animation, images, dialog, whatever you are using becomes a metaphor  for the message.

Now, because of the wide array of digital elements available the old method of ‘writing it up’ needs to evolve.  It is best to use a storyboard.  So, what is a storyboard?

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A comic strip is a good example of a storyboard.  This is a four-panel storyboard from beginning to end reading left to right.  Every time I mention storyboard a hand goes up followed by, “I can’t draw!”  In truth, you don’t have to know how to draw.  You must just understand a storyboard is no more than a map showing where you start and finish.  We will go over in more detail tomorrow about how to put a storyboard together.

The next element is timing.  How long should your story be?  That depends on your message.  The commercials in Super bowl 2018 will cost over $5 million dollars for a 30-second ad.  Take a look at these 2017 Super Bowl ads, which cost only $166,667 dollars per second.  Can you identify the message?

When telling a story all you need is a little creativity and imagination.  When putting a digital story together you must think outside the box.  Don’t just think of still images anymore.  Think of images that actually move.

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There are thousands of ways to add digital media.  It is not about how much, but more what you need in order to move the story and the message forward.  The big difference between the 1951 and 2008 remake of, “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” was the 1951 had a message; whereas, the 2008 decided to concentrate on CGI and SFX.  That is why the 2008 remake movie bombed.  People go to the movies to be entertained with a story and to come out with a message.

A computer hooked up the Internet is a magic wand for you to deliver your message.  But it can also be Pandora’s box.   Tomorrow, we will explore the story-board.

NaaM

 

Storyteller Secrets

Strategic Storytelling-Branding 3

When Branding, it is important that you deliver one simple message.  That message must be clear and carry emotion.  As any stand-up comedian will testify to, humor is a hard topic to develop.  As a comic, you are constantly trying to figure out what will make the audience laugh.  Audience mood, subject matter, timing, and occasion are all elements in preparing humor.

On the other hand, you would think human emotion would be more straight forward.  However, humor also has, like in law, a statute of limitations.  A good example is William Shakespeare’s, “Merchant of Venice.”  In the court scene, Shylock, a Jew, will lose his fortune and must convert to Christianity.  Today, when this scene is played out, there is sadness; however, 500 years ago, the audience was belly laughing at this scene.

There are still some forms of humor that maintain, like slapstick, a more physical humor that has been played out for centuries.  Humor based on a play of words can be dated as the meaning of the words or expression change in time.  Whereas, a single tear, still has the emotional response expected.

Generational family topics can be moving like the following video.  No words needed to be spoken and you understand what the company is branding.

This is another military topic where generations having shared similar ordeals and threats meet in an unlikely location.  This video also shows that sex and race are not a criteria for anyone who has served in the armed services.

Did you note that both videos use a single piano to set the emotional tone?   Music can set the tone and mood for the response expected.  Music is a powerful emotional element to add to any video.  Music must be chosen on how you want the audience to react and experience, not what you like.

 

In the Food City video, when the young man starts to walk up to the house his face is bright and happy as he looks around, then he sees the older soldier dressed up in his full-dress uniform.  The young man’s face slowly changes to a more respectful serious look, dropping his bag, as he moves slowly towards the older solder.  The witness to all of this is one woman who turns to see the two solders meet.  The embrace of the soldiers is the signal for all to encircle the two soldiers and it ends.

Screenshot 2018-03-30 16.12.22

In the American Airlines, a young black female dressed in camouflage fatigues is asked to board first.  The room is crowded, but there are older men who take special attention to this young soldier as she walks forward.  She walks between a row of people but spots one older man who has stood at attention  presenting her a salute.  She humbly acknowledges it with a shy smile and a nod.  The narrator’s words are unnecessary,  the message is clear.

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The piano is a string instrument.  How would an acoustic guitar change the mood in these videos?

Strategic Story

Strategic Storytelling-Branding 2

After yesterday’s Story-branding, I decided to look for videos that could be critiqued and even possibly improved if they were changed to a story.  It didn’t take long for me to find one.  Before I say anymore, look at this Real Estate video.

 

 

The video was published on July 20, 2017.  The message for this video was to announce a First-Time Home-buyers Seminar that was scheduled for August 16, 2017.  The message took 10-seconds.  So, first let’s go over what’s wrong with this video.

First, it should have already been taken down after Aug. 16th.   This is out dated information.

Humor is a great attention grabber IF it makes a point–this one didn’t.  This group is hosting a First-Time Home-buyers Seminar.  What will be discussed?  What do I need to know in order to buy my first home?  What will I get out of this seminar when I leave?  Of course, none of these questions were asked.  What I observed were five well-dressed RE agents doing out-of-date 1980 dancing in the lobby of their office.  Here is an alternative for a one-minute story presentation.

INT.  KITCHEN   {Wife hands a letter to her husband}

HUSBAND

                                                  What’s this?

WIFE

Our rent is being increased again

HUSBAND

[ANGRY AND FRUSTRATED]

{Reads the letter and then crumbles it up and throws it into the trash}

This is never going to stop.  If we owned a home, like our parents, we would be better off.  But I just don’t think we can afford it.

WIFE

I’m not sure if we could even qualify.  They go by credit scores and how much money you got in the bank.

HUSBAND

I’ve gone online, but there just too much information and education to figure it all out.  I just wish we knew someone we could talk to.

INT.  [CAMERA PANS TO RIGHT] TO RE AGENT BEHIND THE COUPLE.  CAMERA ZOOMS IN SLOWLY ON AGENT AS HE SPEAKS.

AGENT

Let us help you answer these and other questions you might have at our free First Time Home-buyers Seminar.  Come with your concerns and questions and you’ll leave not only with answers, but who knows, maybe with an idea where you might just buy your first home.  Let us be your guide and take you through the steps.  We’re here for you.

A window to click to reserve your free seats could have helped in getting customer information.  This group overlooked several opportunities to collect intel and future leads.

Now, let’s end with this advertisement for Ubiquity World Network.  Remember Hitchcock on the visuals setting the tone, communicating the message, and transferring the emotions.  You will find all three in this one-minute clip.  I especially enjoyed the transitions between scenes.  This is not hard to do, it just takes time to plan it out.  The story has a beginning with the architect designer, how the company differs from cable companies, and ends with a united family using the Net.

 

AfterEffects software can do both these transitions and animations.  Worth thinking about.