My first attempts in scriptwriting or how Mike Santos saved…
Hey guys, it’s Andre.
It’s contest time here in our studios in Stuttgart. While our readers are writing a stunning Promo about Gary to win in our Xmas Contest, we’re here to do the same to show who’s the best imager in the office.
‘No big thing.’, I thought. ‘I’m working in radio since a while and I do that all the time. How hard can this be?’
Well, my results pretty much suck. Then I realized, I never have written a whole Promo on my own and I have no idea on scriptwriting.
In my desperation, I wrote a mail to Mike Santos, Multi-Format Imaging Director and expert on PPM. Maybe he had some tips for me on scriptwriting.
I expected a short mail with a few basic tips, but what I got in return was a crash course on scriptwriting, which taught me more than years in production.
See Mike’s wisdom on scriptwriting and use it for yourself
scriptwriting (in my opinion), is probably the most important part of radio imaging and production. you can know all the production tricks in the world, but if you script doesn’t convey the message properly, then all you have is an impressively sounding bad promo. so i’m definitely a big fan of scriptwriting and it’s something i think people don’t spend enough time with – especially as in imaging guy. so let’s start with the basics:
1. eliminate the “maybe”s – copywriting is about creating an experience. so you want to make it definitive. you want to make it feel like they’ve already won the prize as opposed to telling them what they “might” win. if there’s an inkling of a thought that they won’t win, they might tune out. so, for example, which of the following sounds better:
a) LISTEN ALL WEEK AND GET QUALIFIED FOR A CHANCE TO SEE RIHANNA IN SEVEN CITIES, IN SEVEN DAYS!
b) GET QUALIFIED ALL WEEK AND YOU’LL FLY TO SEVEN CITIES…IN SEVEN DAYS…WITH RIHANNA
option (a) is very general, like maybe you’ll win if you listen. option (b) is more definitive. YOU WILL WIN THIS PRIZE IF YOU GET QUALIFIED.
2. put the “party” before the “place” – this also relates to the idea of “creating the experience.” effective promos illustrate the prize AND THEN tell them how to win. think of it as a conversation between you and a friend. if you won something cool, you’re not going to tell them how you won it first, right? of course not. you’re gonna tell them what you won, and then tell them how you won it. if you give them all the mechanics on how to win before you explain the prize, you run the risk of 2 things:
a) the listener will tune out and change the station, or if they stick around to the end,
b) they’ll forget how to win.
So, make sure you grab them with what you’re giving away. then, once they’re actively listening, tell them how to win it.
3. know your audience – writing for your audience is a lot like imaging different formats. there are certain phrases and verbiage that works for each format, and certain things that work for all formats. it’s about understanding the music, the lifestyle, and the demo that you’re targeting. you get to play with language a lot more with CHR than you would with HotAC or Country. for example, i’d never use the word “YOLO” in a HotAC or Country promo because it wouldn’t make sense – unless i was doing it to “make fun” of the term. does that make sense? take some time and listen to stations for each format. you’ll kind of get an idea of what they’re trying to do.
4. avoid using words like, “LISTEN IN” and/or “TUNE IN” – they’re old and redundant. people are listening to the radio already, so why would you tell them to do something they’re already doing? plus, there are more direct ways to say the same thing. for example:
a) LISTEN AT 7, 11, 2 AND 5 – AND WIN TICKETS TO SEE TAYLOR SWIFT FEBRUARY 7TH AT STAPLES CENTER
b) WIN YOUR TAYLOR TICKETS AT 7, 11, 2 AND 5 – AND SEE TAYLOR FEBRUARY 7TH AT STAPLES CENTER
I think that covers the basics of it. i mean, there are a million different things that can make you a better scriptwriter, but these are the things i tend to stick to. PPM has cut down the amount of time we have to be creative, but that doesn’t mean, we should try to be as creative as possible. the days of 60 second promos are LONG GONE. now, they’re asking us to do the same thing in 30 seconds or less. it definitely puts strain on you as a creative person, but at the same time, challenges you to be better.
So let’s look at the rihanna promo again. I’ll write two different versions, so you can sort of see what I’m talking about.
ALL WEEK LONG…Z-99 5 IS GIVING YOU THE CHANCE TO SEE THE WORLD WITH RIHANNA… (ARTIST LINER)
LISTEN AT 7, 11, 2 AND 5 – AND GET QUALIFIED TO FLY TO SEVEN CITIES…IN SEVEN DAYS…WITH RIHANNA.
WIN A CHANCE TO SEE THE WORLD WITH RIHANNA…ALL WEEK…WITH TODAY’S BEST MIX…Z-99-5
ALL WEEK LONG…SEE THE WORLD…WITH RIHANNA (ARTIST LINER)
SEVEN CITIES (HOOK)…SEVEN DAYS (HOOK)…WITH RIHANNA (HOOK)
GET QUALIFIED AT 7, 11, 2 AND 5
ONLY, FROM TODAY’S BEST MIX…Z-99-5
hopefully that helps you out a little bit man. feel free to hit me up if you have any other questions.
At this place, I’d like to use this blog to say a massive thank you to Mike. You’re one of the most generous, talented and coolest guys, I know in this game. Thanks for letting me learn from you!