Last time I wrote about success storytelling. I made a 12 minute video explaining my thoughts on success story videos. If you’ve made hundreds of success story videos I think you’ll find much of this to be basic but you may find the focus on key moments useful. If you’ve never made a success story video you will want to watch the whole thing and then go look at some good success stories on various company websites or YouTube channels.
In addition to watching the video here or on YouTube, you may also want to learn a lot more about what I call key moments. Norman Hollyn wrote a wonderful book called “The Lean Forward Moment” in 2009 that goes into much more detail on this concept and how you can use it in everything from commercials to feature films.
The most successful success stories follow a simple formula. Most experienced producers of success stories have a standard set of questions they aim to answer in the video. They usually look something like this:
• How was it before?
• What made you decide to change?
• Who helped you?
• What did you do?
• What was the result?
You may use more or fewer questions and you may ask them a little different than I’ve shown here but we all use some basic form of these to show why it needed changing, who and what created the change and how good things are because of the change. We try to put this in business terms,not technical jargon or product specific words.
The most successful stories pair this approach with an equally good production plan. Each change that is highlighted in an answer to a question is a good place for using motion, sound or transitions and effects to draw the viewer in. A few changes will be the most important and deserve the most consideration in terms of B-roll, sound and effects possibilities. Maybe the solution brought the client or their customers from misery to delight. Show that with the right mood change as you tell the story. In the “Who helped you?” question, maybe the answer is an excellent partner. How about using B-roll and a lower third to introduce a person or people from that partner meeting with the customer to make them real and show their commitment to helping their customer?
As always, timing is everything. Make the cuts and effects happen on the beat unless you have a specific reason for going off the beat. Leave titles and lower thirds on-screen long enough to be read two to three times. All the standard good practices still matter but the extra part, the special sauce in the best success stories is tying your editing to the changing moods and situations of the story.