Creative Scriptwriting and Copywriting

Rushes

In copywriting, scriptwriting, writing on December 18, 2009 at 2:22 am

Peep Show - funnier than the last two seconds of my corporate video about a publishing company

Of course, even though writers think Directors Are Trouble, a good director can make you look terrific.

I’ve just been sent through the rushes from a shoot for a promotional video I’ve written. It’s a monologue – a guy delivering a lecture – and they’ve shot it and edited it really close to how I imagined it. The actor they chose is a lot older than my original suggestion, but he’s got the feel for how the speech should be delivered, so he acts younger than his years. There’s a green screen behind him, so some of the visual moments haven’t been added, but you can see how it’s all going to work.

So far, so good. It’s actually pretty rare as a freelance to be kept in the loop at this stage (The Rushes! How very Fellini). In fact, it’s not that common that you get kept in the loop at all. I’ve written on about ten video projects this year. This is the second where I’ve laid eyes on anything close to the finished product. Yes, it’s slightly easier these days when a client can post you a link online, rather than have to go to the trouble of running you off a tape, or burning a DVD, but it doesn’t seem to be anyone’s priority. (Oh, one is so much more valued in the theatre…)

Anyway, I have to tell you, the last two or three seconds are terrific. I Laughed Out Loud, as they say on the internet. And I may well be the only person who ever laughs out loud at it. It’s probably not Peep Show-funny for someone who didn’t spend a day and a half struggling a bit with the tone of voice and brand requirements and all that dull stuff. But we may raise a smile.

And it’s also the one moment of the script I didn’t write. I’d had a couple of conversations about whether my ending didn’t just tail off weakly, and I’d tried to convince them (and myself) that a more downbeat ending was altogether more powerful and memorable. But they obviously had a good director. Because they ignored me and came up with something better – two small children clapping in a hall. (I did warn you it’s not that hilarious out of context).

At the beginning of my career this would have troubled me. It’s easy to focus on all the notes and changes that you’re given, and forget that there can be no notes or changes without your first draft script. But if you are scared of collaboration, you should be writing poetry. So these days, I take a vain and inaccurate pride in just about everything, even the bits the director came up with it. But history will record that I wrote the video, so it’s mine.

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