Rainbow Family Tree

tell your story - change the world!

According to my trusty workshop schedule today we're commencing 'How to Edit 2 - Creative choices for Sound and Picture'.

Here is a storyboard template that will help you plan how your images and voiceover come together. Basically you write down/draw what images you're planning on using (and in what order) then, in the space underneath, you write what voiceover/music/sound effects and/or transitions (dissolves, page turns, hard cuts etc) you think will work in that spot.

For most people it will quickly become apparent that there's more voiceover than images, or each image will have to stay on screen for 30 seconds or longer to allow you time to speed through the delivery of your voiceover.

At this point you may think you need more images but let me encourage you to STOP, THINK and EDIT... perhaps less words would work better? Let the images tell the story... and allow time between sentences for the audience to process what they're seeing.

Of course, if you're still struggling with writing your story this may seem an impossible task. Do it anyway! It really helps to organise your thoughts and if you've done this on paper before you start editing you'll make a better story and QUICKER!

Which brings me to what makes a good story?

Lots of things obviously... and different people also respond to different things... so what I am about to say is both subjective and a time-tested 'Rule of Drama: 101'... CONFLICT!

Conflict adds suspense to a story and draws the audience in... however, it doesn't necessarily need to manifest as good vs. evil!

Think back over your story... remember the events that actually happened when you were the character IN the story? Maybe you're describing them now, with all the wisdom of what's happened since... but how different is it if you describe the same thing as if you were back there again? Did it seem like you were being given impossible choices... between a rock and a hard place? How did you choose? Maybe you're still struggling with the conundrum and it doesn't seem fair?

Sometimes you don't even need to 'finish off' the story... the audience is left to imagine what they would do if they were stuck with these tough choices. Or - the fact that you're re-telling it now implies you've already moved on and overcome...

On the other hand perhaps you need to spell it out? Reflect upon how you found the strength to 'get on with it' and offer advice for others?

For some of you this may make no sense... you've already written your script and, although it's a bit long, it describes times, places, people, ideas... This is a great opportuntiy, before doing your test recording, to look back over it, as if you were hearing/seeing it for the first time. Are the turning points that happened in your life, reflected in the story? Can you boil down all the seemingly important details into just a few words... the essence of the story?

It'd be great if you could create a little bit of time and space over the weekend to REFLECT... then post and tell us about it. Remember, at this stage, we are your test audience... you can practice on us and 'tighten up' your tale before you even start to edit!

Some notes on VOICEOVERS...

The WAY you deliver your voiceover will have a big impact on your audience. Find a quiet place so that you can really go back into it, rather than just reading it out loud. Take some deep breaths and take your time... we always read way quicker than necessary... try going through your piece as SLOWLY AS POSSIBLE... if there are some bits that are hard to say or seem irrelevant, cut them out... it's easier to do that now than when you have positioned the voiceover in your timeline.

AUDIO QUALITY is really, really important too... try and position yourself away from the buzz of hard drives and fridges. Turn off the phone. Make sure the recording levels are healthy and high without being distorted. Any kind of plug-in mike will deliver better audio than the one built-in to your computer.

When you've done a recording, find some headphones (even iPod headphones will do) and listen back... turn the volume right up - can you hear hiss or distortion? This is why it's good to do a quick test record before pouring your heart and soul into getting your performance just right... and if you're even the tiniest bit concerned about the audio quality please, please, please get in touch so that we can help you find some solutions.

Nobody wants to spend all this time and energy making a kick ass story that you have to struggle to hear ; )

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