What secret blockbuster tip can draw viewers into your story like nothing else?
18 October 2020
by Nico Ceballos Jones
If you look at all the mega-successful, blockbuster stories, patterns soon start to emerge. The connective tissue is different from film to film, book to book, but a lot of them follow the same framework of rules over and over again. Those are the ones that endure, and resonate with audiences on the largest scale. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could use some of the same blockbuster tricks to give your video content a bit of an edge? Well, step this way…
Let’s start at the beginning. How many heroes, when you meet them for the first time, are living painfully mundane, normal lives? Harry Potter. Rey from the new Star Wars flicks. Arya Stark. Every Dr Who companion ever. These are all characters that will go on to have fantastic, logic-stretching adventures, but early doors they’re just like you and me. Well, like me – you might be incredibly exciting, but you get the point.
This is a crucial part of many stories, especially fantasy ones, because a viewer needs to be presented with an easy way into the fictional world. The simplest way to do this is to have a main character who is relatable – someone you can look at and think ‘yeah, I know what they’re going through. I’d like to see what happens to them.’ If the storyteller gets the balance right, the main character sort of becomes a blank canvas, for the viewer to project themselves onto. That’s what this technique’s called – projection .
For the rest of the tale, it’s as though the audience is living it themselves, no matter how mind-boggling the setting. As the character develops and learns, so does the audience, and because the starting point was so basic, the end result is all the more thrilling. Earnest Hemingway summed it up…
‘“it’s your object to convey everything to the reader so that he remembers it not as a story he has read but something that happened to himself.”
What has this got to do with you? Well, it depends on your audience, and where they’re watching your videos. Perhaps they know loads about your business already…but what if they don’t? What if your service or product is actually quite complex, or difficult to sum up? Just as a viewer needs an easy way in to a complex fictional story, a potential customer might need an easy way into yours.
Obviously that’s where testimonials can come into play; social proof is massive these days. The first thing we do when weighing up a purchase is to check out the reviews via some frenzied searching. The bigger the purchase, the more time and effort we put into that search. But written reviews, ubiquitous though they are, are getting a bit old hat. How can you be sure they’re not mocked up, or written by some bot? Enter: the video testimonial or case study. If ever there was a gold-standard use of internet video, this is it. If your business is a good fit, it’s the first type of video you should make.
The main strength of a good video testimonial is that it’s incredibly hard for most normal folks to fake authenticity on-screen. In fact, it’s not that easy for professional actors to do either. How many slick toothpaste adverts haven you seen where a 6.2” Aphrodite Golden Goddess is telling you ‘I used to have problems with bad breath, but then everything changed’ and you’re thinking: ‘No you didn’t. You absolutely did not.’
This is where user-generated content really comes into its own, because it’s so believable, and relatable. A clearly-not-fake video review or testimonial from someone your audience can relate to is gold dust, and a fantastic way to invite new customers, new clients into your world. The Capture Captain app makes it amazingly simple to gather dynamic testimonials, but can you also make use of projection when you’re making videos with contributions from colleagues or your clients? Absolutely. All you need to do is find a person who your audience can relate to, and give them a problem or challenge to overcome (for more details on this, check out our Golden Rules resource).
It’s really that simple; relatable people facing interesting challenges is the foundation of every decent story ever told. You can add extra stuff on top as you need to; it helps if they’re incredibly passionate about what they do. It helps if there’s a compelling, episodic structure to their struggles. It helps if there’s a theme underpinning every video you make, but the basics remain the same, and anyone can make use of them: capture the attention of a viewer with someone they can relate to, and then the ride can begin.