You are previewing Writing for Visual Media, 2nd Edition.
O'Reilly logo
Writing for Visual Media, 2nd Edition

Book Description

This book looks at the fundamental problems a writer faces as a beginner learning to create content for media that is to be seen rather than read. It takes you from basic concepts to a first level of practice through explicit methods that train you to consistently identify a communications problem, think it through, and find a resolution before beginning to write.

Through successive exercises, Writing for Visual Media helps you acquire the basic skills and confidence you need to write effective films, corporate and training videos, documentaries, ads, PSAs, TV series, and other types of visual narrative. A new chapter looks at adaptation as a specific script writing problem. Writing for Visual Media also lays a foundation for understanding interactive media and writing for non-linear content with new chapters that cover writing for the web, interactive corporate communication, instructional media, and video games.

This book will make you aware of current electronic writing tools and scriptwriting software through a companion DVD, which offers links to demos and enriches the content of the printed book with video, audio, and sample scripts. Scripts are linked to video clips that are the produced result of the words on a script page. The DVD demonstrates the visual language of scriptwriting (shots, basic camera movement, transitions, etc.) discussed in the book by means of an interactive, illustrated glossary (video and stills) of terms and concepts.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright
  5. Contents
  6. What’s on the DVD
  7. Preface to the Second Edition
  8. Introduction
  9. Part One: Defining the Problem
    1. 1. Describing One Medium Through Another
      1. Writing Not to be Read But to be Made
      2. Writing, Producing, and Directing
      3. Moving from Being a Viewer to Being a Creator
      4. The Producer Cannot Read Your Mind
      5. Instructions to the Production Crew
      6. What is the Role of a Scriptwriter?
      7. The “Script” Writer is a New Kind of Writer
      8. What is Visual Writing?
      9. Visual Writing
      10. Where do We Go from Here?
      11. Differences Compared to Stage Plays
      12. Writing With Dialogue
      13. Writing Without Dialogue
      14. Conclusion
      15. Exercises
      16. Endnotes
    2. 2. Describing Sight and Sound
      1. Describing Time and Place
      2. Describing Action
      3. Describing the Camera Frame or the Shot
      4. Camera Shots
      5. Describing Camera Movement
      6. Describing Graphics and Effects
      7. Describing Transitions Between Shots
      8. Describing Sound
      9. Shot, Scene, and Sequence
      10. Finding a Format for the Page
      11. Master Scene Script
      12. Dual-Column Format
      13. Storyboard
      14. Conclusion
      15. Exercises
      16. Endnote
    3. 3. The Stages of Script Development
      1. Background Research and Investigation
      2. Brainstorming and Freeing Your Imagination
      3. Concept
      4. Pitching
      5. Treatment
      6. First Draft Script
      7. A First Draft Script for a PSA: Smoked to Death
      8. Voice Narration and Dialogue
      9. Revision
      10. Final Draft
      11. Shooting Script
      12. Conclusion
      13. Exercises
      14. Endnotes
    4. 4. A Seven-Step Method for Developing a Creative Concept
      1. Step 1: Define the Communication Problem
      2. Ivy College: An Admissions Video
      3. American Express: American Travel in Europe
      4. PSA for Battered Women
      5. Shell Gas International
      6. Step 2: Define the Target Audience
      7. Demographics
      8. Psychographics
      9. Step 3: Define the Objective
      10. Step 4: Define the Strategy
      11. Step 5: Define the Content
      12. Step 6: Define the Appropriate Medium
      13. Step 7: Create the Concept
      14. A Concept for an Anti-Smoking PSA
      15. Conclusion
      16. Exercises
  10. Part Two: Solving Communication Problems with Visual Media
    1. 5. Ads and PSAs: Copywriting for Visual Media
      1. Copywriting Versus Scriptwriting
      2. Client Needs and Priorities
      3. The 20-, 30-, and 60-Second Playlets
      4. Visual Writing
      5. Devices to Capture Audience Attention
      6. More on Ads and PSAs
      7. Recruiting the Audience as a Character
      8. Mixing Devices and Techniques
      9. Infomercials
      10. Video News Releases
      11. Billboards and Transportation Ads
      12. Advertising on the World Wide Web
      13. Formats
      14. Conclusion
      15. Exercises
      16. Endnotes
    2. 6. Corporate Communications
      1. Typical Corporate Communication Problems
      2. Other Corporate Uses of Media
      3. Meetings with a Visual Focus
      4. Getting Background and Product Knowledge
      5. Using Subject Matter Experts
      6. Video Versus Print Media or Interactive Media
      7. Video as a Corporate Communications Tool
      8. Corporate Television
      9. Script Formats for Corporate Videos
      10. Developing the Script with Client Input
      11. Length, Pacing, and Corporate Style
      12. Devices that Work for Corporate Messages
      13. Writing Voice Commentary
      14. Selling Creative Ideas
      15. Working with Budget Limitations
      16. Conclusion
      17. Exercises
      18. Endnotes
    3. 7. Training, Instruction and Education
      1. Focus Groups
      2. Questionnaires
      3. Traditional Devices for Training Videos
      4. Show and Tell
      5. Job and Task Description
      6. Devices that Teach and Entertain
      7. Dramatization
      8. Educational/Instructional Use of Video
      9. How-to-do-it Videos
      10. Interactive Applications
      11. Conclusion
      12. Exercises
    4. 8. Documentary and Nonfiction Narratives
      1. Documentary Comes First
      2. Truth or Fiction
      3. Scripted and Unscripted Approaches
      4. Research and Formulating a Theme
      5. What is the Role of the Writer?
      6. Types of Documentary Technique
      7. Other Documentary Applications
      8. Writing Commentaries
      9. Conclusion
      10. Exercises
      11. Endnotes
  11. Part Three: Entertaining with Visual Media
    1. 9. Dramatic Structure and Form
      1. Origins of Drama
      2. Conflict
      3. Three Act Structures for Film and Television
      4. Other Narrative Structures
      5. The Flashback
      6. Genres
      7. Script Development
      8. Writing a Movie Treatment
      9. Screenplay
      10. Scene Outline
      11. Master Scene Script Format
      12. Scripting Software
      13. Conclusion
      14. Exercises
      15. Endnotes
    2. 10. Writing Techniques for Long Form Scripts
      1. Characters and Character
      2. Dialogue and Action
      3. Plot or Storyline
      4. Comedy
      5. Drama
      6. Conclusion
      7. Exercises
      8. Endnotes
    3. 11. Writing Techniques for Adaptation
      1. The Problem of Adaptation
      2. Length
      3. Point of View
      4. Narrative Tense and Screen Time
      5. Setting and Period
      6. Dialogue Versus Action
      7. Descriptive Detail and the Camera Frame
      8. Implied Action
      9. It’s a Wonderful Life
      10. Bartleby
      11. Conclusion
      12. Exercises
      13. Endnotes
    4. 12. Television Series, Sitcoms, and Soaps
      1. The Premise for Series, Sitcoms, and Soaps
      2. Three-Act Structure and the TV Time Slot
      3. Using Commercial Breaks
      4. Visualizing for the Small Screen
      5. TV Dialogue
      6. Realism/Realistic Dialogue
      7. Breaking Up Dialogue
      8. Pacing
      9. The Beat Sheet
      10. Team Writing
      11. Hook/Teaser
      12. The Series Bible
      13. Condensing Action and Plot
      14. Target Audience
      15. Script Formats for Television
      16. Comedy and its Devices
      17. Running Gags
      18. Visual Gags
      19. Double Takes
      20. One-liners and Laugh Lines
      21. Sitcoms
      22. New Techniques and Innovations
      23. Spec Scripts
      24. Conclusion
      25. Exercises
      26. Endnotes
  12. Part Four: Writing for Non-Linear and Interactive Media
    1. 13. Writing and Interactive Design
      1. Defining Interactive
      2. Linear and Nonlinear Paradigms
      3. Combining Media for Interactive Use
      4. Breakdown of Script Formats
      5. Authoring Tools and Interactive Concepts
      6. Multimedia Components
      7. Finding a Script Format
      8. Conclusion
      9. Exercises
      10. Endnotes
    2. 14. Writing for Interactive Communications
      1. Different Writing for Web Sites
      2. Web Site Concepts
      3. Writing to be Read on the Web
      4. Navigation: The Third Dimension
      5. Writing Issues
      6. Instructional and Utilitarian Programs
      7. Interactive Catalogues and Brochures
      8. Education and Training
      9. Kiosks
      10. Conclusion
      11. Exercises
      12. Endnotes
    3. 15. Writing for Interactive Entertainment
      1. Interactive Reference Works
      2. E-Commerce and Interactive Books
      3. Games, Narrative, and Entertainment
      4. Graphics vs. Live Action
      5. The Order of Writing
      6. Formats
      7. Interactive Television
      8. Interactive Movies
      9. Conclusion
      10. Exercises
      11. Endnotes
  13. Part Five: Anticipating Professional Issues
    1. 16. You Can Get Paid to Do This
      1. Writing for the Entertainment World
      2. Writing Contracts
      3. Pitching
      4. Ideology, Morality, and Content
      5. Emotional Honesty and Sentimentality
      6. Writing for the Corporate World
      7. Client Relationships
      8. Corporate Contracts
      9. Work for Hire
      10. Agents and Submissions
      11. Networking, Conventions, and Seminars
      12. Surfing the Web
      13. Hybrid Careers
      14. Conclusion
      15. Exercises
      16. Endnotes
  14. Appendix: Script Formats
    1. Dual Column: PSA, Documentary, Corporate
    2. Master Scene Script: Feature Film for Cinema and Television
    3. Scene Script, Version 1: Television Sitcoms and Series
    4. Scene Script, Version 2: Television Sitcoms and Series
    5. Interactive Game Script (This is one Type of Interactive Script)
    6. Video Game Concept for Gods & Monsters
  15. Glossary of Terms, Abbreviations and Acronyms
  16. Bibliography
  17. Index