Posted by Lorie E.G. Singer on September 28, 2011
Stanford Smith makes some great points this post about “preaching to the choir” if you will. And he’s right. It’s great to have the support of like-minded people, but if the right people aren’t getting your message the right way, you’re getting nowhere. I’ve talked before about how it’s important to know your audience. And, whether your marketing a university, developing adult learning content, or producing a killer video, you need to make sure the audience you’re creating your story for is the audience that gets it. It happens all the time. We write a marketing piece in a way that appeals to our executive, but is it written in a way that will appeal (and sell to) your audience? Will your learners love the content as much as the other instructional designers do, or will the be confused and turned-off by it? Those special-effects and artistic edits are awesome, but are you doing it to show off your favorite skills or to reach wedding and corporate clients? It’s so easy to study your audience and develop something for them but do it in a way that appeals not to the audience, but to ourselves or our peers. I think we’re all guilty of it from time to time. I’ll be the first to admit that I have. I’ve done promos and videos that I thought were great but missed the mark with the audience because they just didn’t get it. But, I’ve also done videos that I didn’t really connect with that were exactly what the client and the audience needed to see. I challenge you to go back and take an honest look at the stories you’re telling. I have and I’m going to be doing a few rewrites on a project I’m working on where the target audience is very different from the people involved. I did a pretty good job in the beginning, but I can see now that I lost that edge a bit. Now that I’m aware I can make it right. If you’re in the same boat I’m in, here are a few suggestions to help you stay on track:
- Get out of your comfort zone and expose yourself to the interests and environment of your audience. Remind yourself where they’re coming from. Don’t assume you know.
- Do a focus group or have an informal chat with folks from your target audience. What story do they want to hear from you or your client?
- Look for outside experts. Don’t just listen to the usual people get opinions from, find someone from outside your circle to give an objective opinion.
- I’ve been known to put up signs up around my desk to remind me about the audience I’m trying to reach.
Take a minute. Think about the stories you’re telling now. Are you telling your story in a way that will move, excite or affect your audience? Is your story being told in a way that’s too “inside” your environment to reach that target audience out there? Are you telling the right story, the right way, to the right audience?
The answer to those questions are the difference between telling your story and selling your story.
Posted in Instructional Design, Marketing, Work | Tagged: Arts, Audience, Fan fiction, Fiction, marketing, Marketing and Advertising, Online Writing, Storytelling, Target audience, Video, Video production, YouTube | 10 Comments »
Posted by Lorie E.G. Singer on March 8, 2011
I had heard this was in the works, but it appears that the deal is done. I can’t help but wonder what it means to the future of video production.
It most certainly will change YouTube. Today YouTube is the home of cute cats, babies laughing, and quirky viral sensations. With the addition of a professional branch one can only imagine that more professionally produced content is not far behind. Yes, there is professional content available now, but it’s provided by people, bands and others primarily for self promotion.
What we’re talking about here is the potential for professionally created content created exclusively for the YouTube audience. Video content produced exclusively for the web is not new. As a matter of fact, the only thing new is the appearance that YouTube wants in on the act. But, will this change what YouTube is?
Image via Wikipedia
YouTube seems is the home of home videos. It’s where you put everything from videos of kids for grandma to see to your videos on just about every kind of how-to you can imagine. I can’t help but wonder if professionally produced episodic videos become a regular part of the site, will it change the quality of the video we see? Will the cute cats and laughing babies be pushed to the side in favor of longer home produced series (perhaps with babies and cats as featured players)?
In some respects, I hope so. Let’s face it, there’s a whole lotta crap out there folks. Sure there are videos only Grandma’s would love, and that’s fine. But there are other videos out there that are of such poor quality even Grandma won’t watch. To paraphrase a popular saying, “With the ability to produce video comes great responsibility.” We are creative people, we want to share what we create. Here’s hoping we see more creative (and higher quality) videos with YouTube leading the way.
Posted in Video, Work | Tagged: Content (media), Video, Video production, YouTube | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Lorie E.G. Singer on February 1, 2011
I’m sure many of my Instructional Design (ISD) friends will disagree, but I don’t think that there’s a lot of differences between video project development and ISD. I’ll wait for the ISDs to stop shaking their heads at their computer screens….it’s true. Some of the phases have different names, but the purposes are very much the same.
**Please note I’m talking about informative videos, not cute videos of your cat posted on YouTube or other videos created for entertainment.
- Audience Analysis
- Requirements Collection
- Interviews with Subject Matter Experts
- Design & Development (write script, choose look and feel, etc.)
- Audience Analysis
- Requirements Collection
- Interviews with Subject Matter Experts
- Design & Developments (write instructor guide, decide on look and feel of materials, etc.)
Even with writing there are similarities. You have to determine the most logical approach for the project. Where do you start? Where do you end? Whether you’re teaching or video taping a process you move from step-to-step in logical progression. The level of detail and end purpose may be different, but they way you go about it is essentially the same.
Whether I’m writing a script or writing an instructor guide I look at it as telling a story. Yes, there are differences but the fundamentals are the same. You need to get a point across. You want to have the viewer or learner leave knowing something that they didn’t know before.
I’ve come across more than one ISD or learning professional that will completely disagree with me. They are certain that the approach is completely different. And even when the instructional documents I completed were on par with what they completed (using their “vastly different” approach) they refused to believe that I used anything other than the same approach that they did.
I will agree that the level of detail, and the execution are different. And I know how hard it is to update video compared to updating and design document or instructor guide. I agree that there are differences. But most of the differences are in the fine print and not in the steps taken.
I’d like to think that video production folks, Instructional Designers, e-learning gurus, teachers, professors, and producers do more things alike than they do different. I think that it’s like having a different dialect. We’re all speaking the same language, we just have a different way of talking about things. The biggest differences come at the beginning of the project when the type of medium used and the purpose is decided (think back to the cute kitten video mentioned above – videos done for entertainment do not fit the approach I’ve described as well as a documentary or instructional video.)
Now, I’m sure that there’s someone out there reading this who is not happy with this line of thinking. I’m pretty sure that there are folks who could be down right angry. They’ll demand to know how someone like me – a video person for Pete’s sake! – could know anything about instructional design. I’ve spent most of my time in corporate video working with instructional designers on instructional videos. I also spent a few years working as an ISD developing a class complete with instructor guide and handouts. There are still people who I worked with then who don’t believe I developed the materials I did approaching it “my way.”
I say as long as the product does what it is intended to do, meets its objects and succeeds in training or educating someone, does it matter how you got there?
Posted in Instructional Design, Video | Tagged: approach, Education, elearning, Instructional Design, ISD, Learning, Video, Video production, YouTube | Leave a Comment »