Presentations can be just like a good movie. SOAP believes in that since day one. From then on, we have always been inspired by narratives and elements that turn a good movie into a blockbuster.
But now we went a little bit further. We went to L.A. to learn how to make a movie from scratch.
The lessons we got from that experience will be applied to SOAP products, processes and trainings. Some interesting things we learned are that:
- If the story is really good, dialogue is unnecessary. In a short film, for example, the scenes are enough to tell the story
- The more dialogues and lettering needed, the less efficient the visuals are
- If what you have for the story is a man exiting through the door, you have nothing. If, however, this man is exiting through the window, then you’ve got a story
- Continuity is one of the main elements on a good movie. As it is on a presentation!
- Each scene should contain indispensable elements only. The same is true for the slides of a presentation
- If something has no reason to exist, get rid of it!
- Conflict is part of life. If a story doesn’t have conflict it is not a story. If the Joker had died during The Dark Knight’s first 10 minutes the story would be over
- Account for the unexpected in a production
- The more flexible you are when transforming the script into visuals, the better the result is going to be
- Being able to foresee a movie or a presentation even before starting the visual production is a competence that requires experience envisioning each detail in the process
- Budget! That’s what’s going to determine the resources to be used in a movie or presentation. There is no magic. You must put into practice your creativity to turn a little
- into a lot. Great ideas are not necessarily expensive
- All people involved in the process should visualize the same movie or presentation. From client to designer, from screenwriter to account executives, all should be on the same “slide”
- Each shot should be planned as comprehensively as possible. The more time you spend planning, the less effort is required. The same for presentations, of course! Invest most of your time planning the message you want to convey to your audience and check the difference as you produce the slides
We hope your next presentation is a blockbuster!
Why do people pay attention to a movie for two full hours, non-stop, but feel tired or asleep after only 5 minutes watching a traditional presentation? The key to attain this level of engagement is a good story.
That’s why at SOAP we continually seek to hone our storytelling skills with innovation and creativity, to achieve the so called “state-of-the-art”.
Pursuing this goal, we have recently attended a seminar given by Robert McKee, author of the classic book Story. McKee might be one of those closest to mastering storytelling in the movie industry, having dedicated over 30 years to spreading his knowledge across the world.
Among his students, screenwriters and directors of movies such as Forrest Gump, Crash, The Truman Show and A Beautiful Mind and TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Friends and The X- Files. Adding it all up, this group has won 35 Academy Awards and 164 Emmys Awards.
McKee is a character himself. He was portrayed in the movie Adaptation, in which a screenwriter (Nicholas Cage) who finds himself trapped in a creative crisis ends up attending McKee’s famous seminar.
Check out one of his interviews below:
During four equally exhausting and rewarding days with Mr. McKee, we were able to dig deeply into the meaning of storytelling, a technique that doesn’t cater only to the movie industry but to any art form.
This workshop was a clear contribution to our creative process that has not only impacted our scriptwriting skills, but also improved our capabilities on defining how the story will influence the design of engaging visuals.
Who benefits the most from all of it? Our clients, who can watch presentations as if they were in the movies! So get the popcorn ready and enjoy the show.
Who doesn’t like to hear a good story?
Who has never rooted for heroes (and, sometimes, even for the bad guys) as if they were close friends?
When we transpose the concept of storytelling to the corporate presentation and video realm, we notice that this is the best way to pass along information without imperativeness. A good example is the video “Love story in milk”.
The author talks about a frequently discussed issue – recycling – in a very original way. After all, you won’t always see two milk cartons romantically involved!
The video is captivating because it engages the audience, who can easily relate to love stories. Also, the video relies on a powerful ally to touch its viewers’ emotions: the sound track, which helps build up momentum in each shot.
Click on the video bellow to see the final result:
Upon applying the storytelling technique, the author managed to communicate effectively because he worked both sides of our brain: emotion and rationale.
At SOAP we believe storytelling is the best way to “sell an idea”. After all, besides entertaining, stories are appealing and lead the audience towards the conclusion you want to convey.
A good presentation is like a story, not just a sequence of slides. What does this have to do with music?
The impact of a presentation is increased meaningfully by connecting the slides, either through the story or the visuals. The presenter must always orchestrate this connection. Stand-alone slides are a great way to make your presentation boring.
Well, albums are made of individual songs. The vast majority of the albums brings songs as isolated entities. As one song finishes, there is silence, and a new song begins. If the song is great, awesome, let’s wait for the next one. On the other hand, if great songs are somehow connected, then the ALBUM is great. That can make all the difference.
There are different ways to connect slides. The most obvious is connecting one slide with the next. However, you can also connect the closing slides with the introduction. Or by using a recurring sentence you can connect different themes at different moments of the presentation. Additionally, you can integrate visual elements that reinforce the connection.
As for music, The Beatles did it all. On the album Abbey Road, they connected 9 songs into a medley. They created melodies that keep coming back in different songs, adapted for each moment. They even created a closing, called . . . The End. All these components make for a beautiful presentation.
Pink Floyd added visuals, a full-blown out script, and created The Wall, a breakthrough album. Even in an incoherent fashion, likely intentional, it proves that it is possible to retain the audience’s attention for 99 minutes, non-stop.
Most companies cannot achieve the same efficiency, even in 15-minutes presentations.
The components of great presentations are universal, they go beyond slides, and permeate many other forms of art.
Watch out, do not allow any slide to be just another brick in the wall.