When Jacquie Greff accepted an early retirement package from Procter & Gamble to work with her husband Kraig at Tonal Vision, she soon realized that she was entering a foreign land. This new country told its stories in a different language - moving visuals and sound, not just words or even PowerPoints.
Fortunately, Jacquie was already multilingual. In her corporate career, she had learned how to tell stories to a variety of business people with different backgrounds, training, experience and responsibilities. She became fluent at telling business stories that engaged and informed her audiences. Later in law school, she also learned "legalese", which required a new dialect and thought structure. She jokes, however, that corporate life never required her to write anything interesting.
At Tonal Vision, Jacquie's new challenge was to master the language of video in order to capture the viewer's attention and tell compelling stories in a meaningful and memorable way. Jacquie has polished that skill over the course of her 21 years with Tonal Vision, where she is now highly valued for Visual Storytelling by a long list of repeat clients.
Jacquie's advice: If you need to tell a story, take the time to find a good storyteller and be prepared to spend enough to allow them to do their job. Video storytelling is the most effective and engaging means of reaching your audience. It is also easily the most complex, with numerous pitfalls.
- If the sound is bad, your audience won't listen to your story. By some accounts, sound delivers 60% of your message. Spoken words should be crystal clear without distracting background noise and echo, loud enough but without distortion. Music and sound effects should support the mood and message, not compete with or distract from it. Even pacing and the appropriate pauses can be absolutely critical.
- Bad video can also ruin your story. At minimum, the visuals should move your story along, not distract from it. You don't need the highest possible resolution or the most expensive equipment, but the visuals do need to support your story and communicate in a manner your audience will appreciate.
- Never underestimate the power of a good script. A video story is developed based on its script, so if you have the time and money, this investment will pay the highest dividends. A skilled scriptwriter will take the time to understand your story and research your audience. He/she is your only hope of delivering a gripping visual story so magical that your audience will watch it to the end.
- The editor as superhero? Believe it. You only have seconds to grab the attention of casual scanners. Even those interested in your topic can be bored into semi-consciousness by a long, rambling video. All viewers appreciate the smooth flow, seamless pacing and punch provided by thoughtful editing. Some audiences, however, know enough to expect the latest available effects and transitions, fast cuts, nuanced color styles and custom motion graphics - making the right editor imperative.