You are shooting a story in a veterinary hospital when suddenly, a small 5-year old girl comes in cradling her puppy.
The dog has been hit by a car, and though barely alive, the little girl has scooped her up in her arms and carried her to the vet’s.
With tears in her eyes and anxiety in her speech she plaintively asks: “mister, can you save fluffy?”
The vet takes the dog, places her on the operating table, and before your eye (and camera!) he proceeds to save the dog’s life.
You got it all.
At the end of the day, you go home, exhausted to your wife and kids.
Sitting at the dinner table, you have a great story to tell.
You can’t wait, really.
Once everyone is seated, your wife turns to you and ‘anything interesting happen today’.
The kids lean forward. They can sense you’ve got a great story to tell.
You sit ramrod straight in your seat and with your best ‘Edward R. Murrow’ voice of God, you solemnly state to the table:
“More than 2500 dogs are struck each year in the greater metropolitan area. Fluffy (pause for dramatic effect) was one of the lucky few.”
The room is silent.
Your wife turns to you.
“Honey”, she says, “maybe you should dial back on the xanax a little bit”.
Because no one… no one… talks like that.
If you were in the vet’s office when fluffy came in and when the vet saved the dog’s life, you would say:
“You won’t believe what happened today!”
everyone leans forward.
“I saw this guy save a dog’s life”!
‘You’re kidding”, they say, or think.
“No, seriously. This little girl came in cradling this puppy. It was covered in blood, and I guess it had been hit by a car”
Do we have their attention?
“Then what happened?”
“They the little girl said, ‘mister, can you save my dog?”
THIS is how we tell a story to our family.
A guy in a bar.
Well, guess what? The viewers are our family. Our friends. Our kids. A guy in a bar.
The way you tell a story to them is the way you should ‘write for broadcast’.
Particularly when you marry it to pictures that tell the story.
Or, as someone a bit more uptight might say..