From the way I devour sports, you’d think I was prepping to host a talk radio show. 

Chargers LAST HOME GAME 2015

Whether it’s a good matchup on Sunday Night Football, a golf tournament, NBA rivalrly, The French Open, or the Dodgers vs. Giants in September, I actively watch the action on the field and carefully listen to the broadcasters’ commentary. 

Why?  Because a good sporting event is a great story that unfolds in real time

For years I have declined invitations to Super Bowl parties or any other “group watch” for major sporting events -- not because I was antisocial -- but because my enjoyment comes from watching the action unfold from Act I to Act II and rising up to the Conclusion and Climax of Act III without interruption.

Dodger StaDium, Los Angeles, Ca 2007

While I do have loyalties to certain teams, my son marvels at the fact that I would rather see a close game, tournament, or match than sit through a blowout -- even if it’s a team I love.

Give me an underdog that rises to the challenge and I’m hooked -- whatever the sport. 

As someone who has spent many years creating stories -- whether it's for television, online mini-doc, screenplay or stage play -- it makes perfect sense. 

trailblazers/Golden State warmups 2015

Act I offers a clear setup, conflict and expectation--game predictions, one-on-one matchups to watch, field condition to consider, how players perform under pressure. Individual story lines. Veterans versus rookies. 

Act II provides second act complications -- possible injuries, momentum shifts, weather, fatigue, crowd impact. 

Act III provides us with additional complication, a climax, and our conclusion. 

NFL Training Camp, OXNARD, CA 2015

Whether it’s set point, the two-minute warning, a playoff hole or bases loaded bottom of the ninth -- there’s a reason sporting events are riveting for spectators. They contain all the elements of a great story.

Sports matter. Because we can connect in community, don’t know the outcome, and ride the ups and downs like we're listening to a symphony for the first time. 

And then, we get to talk about it the next day. And connect again.


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“Will we have to tell our own story?” asked a client during our first creative meeting for a new video.

“No,” I responded, “and yes.”

Hearing myself, I understood the puzzled look.

it was a great question. Because it got me thinking about the nuances of what we do when we create interview-based video. We’re so close to the process, that sometimes we lose sight of all the steps involved.

The project: create a video for a non profit organization in Portland, Oregon telling the powerful story of a family helped by the organization’s outreach and social services.

Authenticity was critical. So, rather than scripting the story and using a narrator, we proposed working within an interview format that allows the story to be told by the people closest to it. In that sense, those involved would be telling the story. 

I explained that -- even in this interview-based approach -- structure and story arc were still critical and our choices would have a significant influence on the video.

In pre production, we would begin to “find” the story by interviewing those involved and reviewing background material.  We would further shape the story by crafting questions to bring out the major points we wanted to make based on our agreed objective.

Finally, during the shoot, we would work with those on camera to build trust and help them feel comfortable enough to speak from their heart.

In post production, shaping the story would accelerate, finding and piecing together the key moments delivered by our “storytellers.”  We would create a strong narrative flow within a three-part structure, letting our interviewees drive the video forward in their own words.

behind the scenes we would leverage impactful photos and “B” roll, add music (if appropriate), color correct, and check and sweeten audio. 

The process involves a lot more than meets the eye, and reminds us that video is a clear collaboration with clients to help bring their stories to life.

Interested in examples of our video storytelling? Please visit rkwcreative.com.



Don't Skip The Script

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I’ve seen it happen many times. The Communications Director gets a call from a C-Suite exec, Marketing Director, or VP of Human Resources to create a video. 

The deadline is tight. The strategic direction is vague. Panic ensues. 

If there is an in-house video department, the key person from that department is summoned for a meeting. If the organization does not have in-house video capability, a local production company or freelancer is called in to work on it.

There’s only one problem. There’s no concept for the video, no outline, and no script.

Whether it’s a video testimonial, "talking-head" interview with an executive, or introducing a new HR initiative -- the most successful video projects have one thing in common. They start with a script. 

Why? Because video is a temporal creative art, not static. Like music, it has an arc. And, while it ebbs and flows as it moves along, a script provides the through-line that keeps the audience tied to the overall objective. Think of it as a spine.

You can even use a script when the video is interview-based and a conversational tone is critical. While you never want to write out answers for interview subjects, you will absolutely want to shape your questions to guide subjects to hit your main points. 

Think a script is creatively limiting?  Not true.  

Having a script:

  • Provides you with important creative parameters to keep you on message
  • Reveals where your video needs to be "broken out" visually to sustain interest
  • Ensures that you have a story arc -- a clear beginning, middle, and end
  • Informs the production team what footage needs to be captured
  • Gives you a concrete way to present to clients before you start shooting
  • Allows the production team to plan for the shoot and maximize your dollars

So next time you get that panic call, take a deep breath...and don’t skip the script.