On November 3rd and 4th, 2021, the Content Marketing Institute hosted its annual Visual Storytelling Summit, a two-day event for content marketing leaders to share insightful information on how to entice audiences when words fall short. During the event, Vyond’s outstanding video producer, Prakriti Rai, shared her lessons on storytelling: what we can learn from movies and TV shows, and why we should apply those findings to content creation.
Prakriti was born in Kathmandu, Nepal. She is passionate about storytelling through the mediums of photography and video. She also has over five years of experience in all aspects of production. Her mission at Vyond is to create animated videos that explore unique ideas with strong aesthetics.
And, on this occasion, we revisit Prakriti’s hour-long presentation and share with you the main takeaways.
The power of movies and tv shows
Prakriti starts by explaining the impact Movies and TV shows have on us. The Little Mermaid and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai were the first movies she remembers watching, and that initial interaction with cinema was powerful enough to make her pursue a career in photography and video production.
Similarly, the love for TV shows & movies and their influence on our lives is observable in today’s cultural practices. From hanging posters on the wall to dressing up as your favorite character for Halloween, the passion for movies transcends the mere act of watching them.
But what is behind that frenzy and love? According to Prakriti, it is compelling storytelling.
Good storytelling requires an emotional component
Whether it is thrill, joy, or excitement, media has the power of eliciting emotions. And when it comes to movies & tv shows, they are particularly good at evoking empathy, the ability to put ourselves in the shoes of others.
As Prakriti explains, empathy has two components: relatability, and authenticity. When implemented correctly, content that evokes empathy will have an emotional payoff which creates a long-lasting impression that can lead to better brand recognition and trust. For that reason, brands and storytellers have to be mindful of incorporating them into their content.
Authenticity and Relatability
The content will be authentic if it is true to life. People experience adversity and good fortune. Moreover, the content will be relatable if it showcases real-life expressions of humanity, meaning people showcase vulnerability and a full spectrum of emotions representative of the human experience. Because of this display of emotions, the audience forms a special connection with the characters presented.
On this opportunity, Prakriti shared a clip from Ted Lasso. The show has won several accolades including an Emmy for outstanding comedy series. Ted Lasso’s skillful writing does not fail to bring laughs while also pulling some heartstrings. Prakriti also shared a viral ad created by Dove years ago, Real Beauty Sketches. This ad is a clear example of connecting with the audience while delivering powerful messages with empathy.
One thing to have in mind is that comedy is another good way of engaging the audience and connecting with them. Nonetheless, comedy can be tricky, for it may be perceived as tone-deaf. Prakriti’s advice is to get feedback from your team to make sure the jokes are well received.
Good storytelling and design go hand in hand
Prakriti covered the intersection of design and storytelling, and how both improve content quality and brand recognition. There are several elements of design that can help create compelling stories, and in this opportunity, Prakriti shared three with the audience.
Composition encompasses the arrangement of the elements within a scene. With effective composition, the content creator guides the viewers’ eyes with ease. Ultimately, composition helps enhance visual storytelling by facilitating the delivery of the message and making it appealing.
Prakriti’s example of outstanding composition was Wes Anderson. His peculiar use of symmetrical composition centers the main characters and balances the props and themes on both sides of the screen. The resulting aesthetic is alluring, easy to follow, and representative of the Wes Anderson style that most viewers can recognize.
Secondly, we have the element of color. When implemented cohesively, color follows a theme and results in a positive response from the audience for they find the content aesthetically pleasant. And, as brands, we can use color pallets for improving brand recognition.
Prakriti shared with us the different color palettes Wes Anderson had used for his movies. From warm and earthy tones for Fantastic Mr. Fox to vibrant pinks and purples in The Grand Budapest Hotel, color brings his cinematography to life by providing a personality to each element within the scene and the movie itself.
Last but not least, the last element for enhancing storytelling Prakriti has shared with us is typography. Typography comprises the arrangement, placement, and style of texts. Similar to color, it can help set a tone and feel to the visuals presented, lead to brand recognition, and strengthen the personality of the visual storytelling.
Prakriti shared how Wes Anderson uses minimalist fonts like Futura, an elegant and modest style, to complement other elements in the scene. As a second example, Prakriti showed a few advertisement creatives from Apple. The company uses a single font (San Francisco) on every project. And this font has become indicative of their brand and their minimalism.
Animation is extremely effective for communicating or addressing difficult topics
Prakriti expresses video is one of the most powerful mediums for effective communication. And when it comes to communicating topics that are challenging, animations can help considerably.
“Disney-Pixar’s Wall-e conveys a strong message about consumerism and environmentalism. Similarly, Pixar’s Inside out delivers a touching message about mental health, emotions, and their intricate relationship with behavior.”
Why video animation for storytelling?
Live-action video requires actors, filming on location, the right equipment, and time for filming. All of those represent substantial financial investments and resources. On the other hand, animated video provides creative freedom at a lower cost.
Furthermore, animated video is ideal for evoking a familiarity with content that emulates real life. This content can even trigger nostalgia for we grew up watching and paying attention to cartoons. In addition, animations contribute to greater flexibility as the animator can use symbolism and metaphors for better communication. For example, one can create silhouettes of people without having to convey their identities.
From dynamic aesthetic customization to the ability to generate content that is immersive and relatable to the audience, the ease of storytelling with animated videos is evident.
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