Here's how to write the scripts for infomercials, videos, documentaries, and promotional campaigns for authors' book online tours.
Use symbolism and metaphor in your infomercial. A script can visualize the waves of the ocean, flow of a river, or waterfall, or ticking of a clock with the handles speeded up to show the passage of time or evolution of a species.
A toy crane truck can recreate an accident to teach decision-making. Use symbolism and metaphor on camera to re-create the events of your life as they flow, perhaps, by showing the flowing river near a client’s hometown.
Symbolism creates new meanings in a script. The symbol must be recognizable by the audience and cross-cultural. What works in one culture may be taboo in another. Find out what the taboo colors are for the country the video will go to.
For example, in Saudi Arabia, red is a taboo color. Writing is never shown in red ink. In China certain shades of blue signify death. Exporters who featured blue dishes in China found the products didn’t sell because of the shade. Color symbols are important if the tape is headed for export.
In video production, symbolism is used in corporate history videos to show the change of a company’s product. It can also show someone age on camera or grow up from childhood. Metaphor compares a person to another object.
In an infomercial (to publicize someone’s color consulting franchise whose logo is a rose), show the main character or proprietor to symbolize her logo. She is like a rose and is selling a product that is supposed to remind the viewer of everything a rose symbolizes. The product is like a rose. It’s colorful, sweet-scented, and blooming.
To symbolize this imagery in a video script, cut to the leading character’s velvet, black hair and pouting, red lips. Then cut to a bouquet of dark, red roses, then back to the character walking through her home dressed in the same shade of red to form a certain imagery of the soul of Spain or a wild, Irish rose.
Then a quick cut to her business, a color consulting firm, where she’s matching the red shades of a lipstick to a client’s best colors. Then cut to your logo stationery, a red rose. A final cut to a bouquet of red roses is placed in her arms as she welcomes her new baby home, named Rose. (The client may want the baby to turn into the business logo on camera.)
HOW DO ALL THESE CONTAINERS FIT TOGETHER TO PRODUCE AN INFOMERCIAL?
A video script’s design is composed of all those containers, edited together, fitted side by side. The summarized points plus the container adds up to (or equals) the springboard.
A creative springboard is the sum total of each container and each summarized point combined, edited together, fitted so that the whole video or film flows like one piece of cloth with no seams or hanging threads. Is the script sound-oriented for radio, or audio-text? A visually-oriented script with fewer words is filled with symbolism and metaphor instead of straight summarized points. Which creative springboard does the producer define?
Time is budget. A sound-oriented or verbal script’s purpose is to persuade, to inform, to warn, to close a sale, to obtain feedback, or to be remembered. A visually-oriented script is there to entertain, evoke emotions, and imprint the imagery on a viewer’s brain which will be recalledlater without thinking. It’s subliminal.
I don't like subliminal advertising or clicking noises underlying TV or radio ads that mess up the body's electrical system, interfere with brain signals, display flashing lights that bring on seizures in some people, or take the viewer's pulse rate out of sync. It's all about following the money. If you write scripts for infomercials, keep viewer's healthy.
Verbal-oriented video scripts offer infomations that enable viewers to make intelligent decisions about a product or service. Subliminals imbedded in an infomercial are never revealed verbally. Infomercials and information videos work on the left-hemisphere of the brain, the logical, analytical, decision-making side that seeks verbal information.
Visual-oriental scripts work on the right hemisphere of the brain that controls emotions and imagery. That’s where subliminals are imbedded, and art forms evoke feelings.
One day a viewer daydreams about that candy bar shown on television next to the image of a beautiful woman in flowing chiffon making romantic gestures. Who can forget the Nestle’s chocolate bar lyric in the background that begins, “Dreams like this…”?
Many writers who specialize in writing direct mail order copy (what many people call third class or “junk mail”) also write infomercials and commercials for video or broadcast television.
Video and audio tapes are sent by mail order along with print advertising copy and information to customers. Video newsletters may also be included. Direct mail order copywriters for video or print write advertisements, sales letters, and demonstration video scripts to obtain orders forproducts such as magazine subscriptions and insurance.
A company purchases computer-sorted mailing lists of people in certain geographical, income, professional, ethnic, or age groups. The demonstration tapes or video newsletters are sent to potential customers to motivate viewers to buy a product by direct mail order. An audience-tracking study is followed up to measure the effectiveness of the written copy or the video script. If many products sold through mail order, the writer is judged excellent.
The writer’s income goes up. The freelancer is now in demand by infomercial producers and direct mail order copy publishers. Anyone watching an infomercial is an information seeker. A sales video, like a feature film, informs as well as sells escape.
The reason to write a nonfiction video script is to create grounds for a decision from the viewer’s end. A decision is made not only about a product or service, but about those who identify with the product or feel repelled by the tape.
The infomercial producers set their own guidelines to battle poor public perception of the long-form commercials. The National Infomercial Marketing Association (NIMA), requires members to produce programs based on truthful information in compliance with laws and regulations.
Guidelines cover crucial issues such as sponsorship identification, program production, product claim substantiation, testimonials and endorsements. Join the various national associations for infomercial producers and script writers. Writers need to work into the script the ways in which customers can order and pay for the product. What kind of prices are fair? Can the customer buy it cheaper in a discount chain? Then why would he order from cable T.V. and pay more? Is it sold in the stores? Are similar and competing products sold in stores, but this product is sold only on T.V.?
The writer must write copy to sell at the client’s prices, sometimes knowing in advance that the customer can get it cheaper in the store than by ordering from T.V. Also, what warranties are on the product? What guarantees do the claims make on T.V.? What are the guidelines for refunds?
RELATED VIDEO OPPORTUNITIES:
You can produce and/or write direct mail copy for advertising agencies, direct mail firms, and publishers that work with print-on-demand and self-published authors. Also, sales videos may
be produced for realtors, marketing research firms, distributors, and any company wishing to create an advertisement on video tape to mail out to customer’s homes.
National Infomercial Marketing Association
1201 New York Ave. N.W., Suite 1000,
Washington, D.C. 20005
Association of Independent Commercial Producers
136 West 21 St.
New York, NY 10011
Kaufman Astoria Studios
34-12 36th St.
Astoria, NY 11106
International Chain of Industrial and Technical Advertising
C/O Poppe Tyson
201 Littleton Rd.