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Author Topic: For those in the Video Business: When do you stop writing?  (Read 1073 times)
Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« on: February 21, 2013, 05:18:05 AM »
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I've been writing fictional scripts for fifteen years (both short and feature length).

This year, I'm getting into 2-5 minute corporate videos. I've been shooting these videos but have never had to deal with clients directly for the stories or scripts.

My problem is that I can get too creative for my own good. I know from experience that I can write a 5-minute script in a day (the labor part). And I also know that I can look at thousands of work available online to copy ideas or whatever.

Questions:

At what point should one stop writing a first draft for a 5 minute corporate video? How much time and effort do you put aside for this aspect of the business?

How do you deal with script nuances and inexperienced clients? E.g., if a client asks you to clarify a certain section of the script, how do you go about it without sounding like a textbook on calculus?

If these questions have been answered already, I will really appreciate links. Thanks for the help!
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Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2013, 07:51:12 AM »
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...
At what point should one stop writing a first draft for a 5 minute corporate video? How much time and effort do you put aside for this aspect of the business?

How do you deal with script nuances and inexperienced clients? E.g., if a client asks you to clarify a certain section of the script, how do you go about it without sounding like a textbook on calculus?...

To me the First Draft should simply be a fleshed-out Outline. Presented as a First Draft with the inference of further revision or at least refinement, the script can be read and annotated by the client. Any serious revision might suggest a problem with the initial outline.

Scripted dialogue can be difficult. I have found that many dialogue issues can be sorted out during casting. Naturally it's important to have a near final approved script before you get to that stage, but necessary dialogue revisions become quite obvious to all when actors get the script. Subtle changes & nuance are fairly easy for everyone to accept at that stage.

Inexperienced clients are likely the norm - that's why they have come to you. So if an outline has been approved and then a first draft, subsequent requests for change can either be accepted or if problematic, referred back to the initial agreed upon outline & draft. Illogical or mistaken requests for changes should be resisted gently but firmly - my experience is that clients learn to respect that.

Finally it's a self-correcting problem: if the client likes you and the results are successful, they return; if not - they don't!
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JohnCox123
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2013, 08:01:00 PM »
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Questions:
At what point should one stop writing a first draft for a 5 minute corporate video? How much time and effort do you put aside for this aspect of the business?

How do you deal with script nuances and inexperienced clients? E.g., if a client asks you to clarify a certain section of the script, how do you go about it without sounding like a textbook on calculus?

If these questions have been answered already, I will really appreciate links. Thanks for the help!

   I would give simple and easy to understand examples (anecdotes if possible) of why terms and structure are used. People tend to remember things, and understand them, more easily if the have a situation they can link it too.

   I'd just like to add some general script writing info. This may not be necessary for you in particular, but may be something a reader would like to know.


   Don't become too involved in a first draft. Keep it open and make it something that can change if needed. You'r clients will have ideas and the process will end with a script very different than what you would have come up with on your own.
   Even after rigorous work on the script the project may not come to fruition. Depending on the project, the clients and the contract, you may be entitled to a kill fee. This is a small fee that's pays for your time and generally discourages people from fishing for an idea and then using it without your consent or license.

Good luck.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 08:16:57 PM by JohnCox123 » Logged
Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2013, 09:18:29 PM »
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To me the First Draft should simply be a fleshed-out Outline. Presented as a First Draft with the inference of further revision or at least refinement, the script can be read and annotated by the client. Any serious revision might suggest a problem with the initial outline.

This is exactly my problem. I don't know the difference between an outline and a finished product. Don't get me wrong, I know the difference enough to point it out in others, but the writer in me gets in the way of stepping back from a work 'unfinished'.

I work much better when I set deadlines and know my numbers.

Quote
Illogical or mistaken requests for changes should be resisted gently but firmly - my experience is that clients learn to respect that.

Finally it's a self-correcting problem: if the client likes you and the results are successful, they return; if not - they don't!

Great advice. That's true, the part about likability. It's so simple yet so powerful. If they like you, of course they're going to listen to you!
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Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2013, 09:21:19 PM »
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  ...
   Don't become too involved in a first draft. Keep it open and make it something that can change if needed. You'r clients will have ideas and the process will end with a script very different than what you would have come up with on your own.

   Even after rigorous work on the script the project may not come to fruition. Depending on the project, the clients and the contract, you may be entitled to a kill fee. This is a small fee that's pays for your time and generally discourages people from fishing for an idea and then using it without your consent or license.

Good luck.

Thanks, John. If you're pitching for a project, or doing a script on spec, how much time is too much time?
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JohnCox123
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2013, 11:18:04 PM »
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When I write on spec I usually trade e-mails back and forth just to get an idea of whether my idea is marketable first. Then I spend a day writing and flushing it out and another day editing and revising the written work. This isn't very intensive. I have suffered burnout when writing in articles for print in the past so I try to spread the load out (I take a lot of breaks and have other projects going at the same time). For reference this is usually promotional videos for bands that want to get on YouTube. Most of these clients either come from or go on to be clients for my photography work (more serious).
  
The main goal to give to my client something that looks it's best and is clear in concept.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 11:21:11 PM by JohnCox123 » Logged
Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2013, 05:45:19 AM »
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The main goal to give to my client something that looks it's best and is clear in concept.

That makes perfect sense. I could work on your system of pitching ideas/concepts and taking it from there.

Thanks, John! Grateful for the tip.
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