The Magic of a Stellar Script
As Alfred Hitchcock quipped:
“To make a great film you need three things: the script, the script and the script.”
There’s nothing quite like the magic of a stellar script.
Recently, we created 'Now Playing', a talk show and exploration of the what, how and why of virtual and hybrid events. Hosted at Saatchi Gallery, a team of experts shared their ideas of where the live event industry is, and where we will be going over the coming months as we adapt to the post-Covid environment. It was our aim to create a tv show to illustrate the effectiveness of this format for digital events.
So what was the starting point for this project? Well of course, it was a script; and in our opinion the golden ingredient of a virtual event. A script is necessary whether a project is a feature length motion picture or a short training video because it tells a good story.
Scripts set the parameters of the project and serve as a planning device, creating a seamless production process and a guide for everyone involved. It’s a great way to ensure everyone can plan ahead and prepare, describing the footage that is required, locations where certain sessions will be shot, what occurs in each shot, and what should be included in each shot.
Scripts should sound natural and conversational. A well-written script, read word by word, should flow well and sound relaxed. It’s a good idea to read it aloud; if you catch your breath in the middle of a sentence or come across a word that is hard to articulate, it probably needs to be shortened and simplified.
Virtual events can attract global audiences, so language choice, points of reference and even units of measure should also be carefully considered. It’s important to ensure the audience understand the meanings behind the words.
A crisp and sharp introduction and summary are also essential. The introduction should be thought provoking and grab the audience’s attention. It should introduce both the subject, speakers and panellists in such a way that makes people want to know more. Your virtual event should end with a summary of the issues as they were discussed and thank everyone who has participated.
If the script is the blueprint for a virtual event, then an experienced host is the glue that brings it all together. Simply put, a professional host will guide the virtual show and provide a joined-up approach for the entire day with a consistent, upbeat, positive presence. They will take on a variety of responsibilities including narrating, interviewing and moderating and act as the audience’s “tour guide” piloting the show.
A television programme is only as good as the host or presenter you put at the front of it and understand the process of television production. They will be interested and involved in the subject they are presenting and should have a good understanding of the audience – who is watching and why – because a good host is able to engage with the viewers.
It’s important that the host is experienced, knows how to read from an autocue and react to instructions through an earpiece. With a a list of open-ended questions, they will be able to put personalities at ease, draw interesting information out so that panellists really contribute to the discussion. They will have done their research and will have a set of secondary questions to follow up on any material.
An experienced host will keep to the matter at hand. They will use the script to keep the focus on the subject matter, but they’ll also be able to improvise if something doesn’t quite go to plan.
There’s nothing like the magic of a natural host, someone who is confident at being themselves; but perhaps it’s a matter of personality, over skillset, that will ultimately win an audience’s attention and loyalty and prove to be the winning formula. With warmth and charisma, everything about demeanour, body language, vocal tones and general ease talking to the camera will feel comfortable making transitions look natural and effortless.
To make a great virtual event, the script is key but don’t forget the importance of ‘the host, the host, the host!