Communicating your message is a tricky thing. When campaigns are created, assumptions are made. We’d like to have an audience move this way so we’ll show them that.
A few months back I had the chance to hear Pete Docter give a talk on storytelling and the use of visuals. The Oscar winner had a lot of great info that informed us on the world of Pixar and the environment that was created. The way that John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Andrew Stanton and others would challenge each other for the best possible choice on each piece of the story.
One of the ways that they push each other is to take away the dialog and see if all the visuals reinforce the message that they’re trying to communicate.
It’s now old hat to talk about the first 40 minutes on stories like Wall-E or Tom Hanks’ depiction of being lost on an island alone in Castaway. But I like to use options like this to challenge me in my storyboarding process. Also, just about any animated short these days doesn’t have dialog. I’m sure it’s a financial choice just as much anything else but it’s wonderful to see what’s communicated just from action, body language and expression.
Below is the story of Carl and Ellie. I know what’s coming and yet it still chokes me up. – all without the use of words. We’re shown a montage of 60+ years of their lives and we feel Carl’s loss.
Sadly, the amount of words used in a campaign tend to make people feel better, especially in committee. This has to be resisted. The strongest work makes every word beg for it’s existence. The best stories show cause, are simple in nature and tap into a truth about life. Next time, a an exercise with your team, try your campaign without words and see what happens. I can bet you’ll be happy with the outcome.
How are you using words in your campaigns?