How to Evoke Viewer Emotion In Your Next Video

People who work in video production want two main things from every video they produce:

  1. High production value

  2. Emotional response from viewers

The first can be achieved with the proper equipment and the proper technical training. The second, however, can be more elusive.

How do you create a story that stimulates a meaningful, emotional response from viewers that inspires them to act?

Obviously, if there was one tried-and-true answer to that question that I could bottle and sell, I could retire now. But the following episode from the podcast Revisionist History provides some fantastic insight on human emotion. I think if you work in video production it’s worth a listen. There are some important lessons to be learned and practices to implement that will help your next story illicit the kind of emotion that you want.

Here’s the episode. In it, Gladwell explores the country music industry and why its songs feel so much sadder than any rock ‘n roll ballad. If you can’t listen to the full 45-minute episode, here are a few sections you can skip to:

  • 00:00-06:45

  • 08:10-10:00

  • 15:04-18:40

  • 18:56-19:35

  • 20:35-21:09

  • 28:04-32:00

Rather than provide you with my own take-aways, I’d like to hear from you. Leave your thoughts in the Comments section. What stood out to you? What can we all do as video production professionals to ensure that our stories resonate with viewers?

And if you haven’t subscribed to Revisionist History, I encourage you to do so. It’s a fantastic podcast.

The Story Behind NASA's Legendary Logo Design


Whenever I come across interesting articles on the creative industry (filmmaking, video production & post, advertising, design, etc.), I clip them and send them out in a weekly e-newsletter.

A few weeks ago I read this article on the famous NASA logo, which traces its history and its legacy. I encourage you to read the story if you work in a creative field, even if it isn't design. I'm sure you can find applications to your own work.

Here are a few things that stood out to me as I read the story:

  • Establish consistency and continuity. Whether it's setting design standards, or any other creative endeavor, make sure that everyone (managers, employees, vendors, etc.) are working together and understand the parameters. 
  • Think minimal. The original NASA logo was intricate, hard to reproduce, and busy. The redesigned logo was clean, minimal, easy to reproduce, legible from distances, and could easily be placed on everything from ID badges to vehicles.
  • Stay true to your vision. Anyone who has worked in a creative field knows that some clients will push back on a proposed idea. A client's objection might not be because of your idea. It may be because the client doesn't quite understand your vision. It might take some convincing on your part. Be prepared to defend your choices and know how to answer a client's questions.
  • Things don't always end well. Even after all the time and energy invested in a creative project, a client may just decide to move in a different direction. There have been moments in my career when I've been very proud of the videos I've produced, only to see the client pivot at the last minute and go in a different direction. I know I'm not the only one.

What do you think? What other lessons can be learned from this story? Leave your thoughts in the Comments.

Why Bullet Journaling May Be Right For You

To stay organized and productive, it's important to keep and maintain:

  • calendars
  • to-do lists
  • work notes
  • personal logs
  • goal trackers
  • project lists
  • and much more

But it's easy for all of these notes to become spread out over multiple journals, notepads, post-its, computers, tablets, smartphones, etc. Your to-list might be separate from your personal journal. And your journal might be in a different notebook than your work projects.

That's why I started a Bullet Journal back in January. A Bullet Journal is designed to bring all facets of your life into one notebook. You can fill it with daily logs, personal reflections, personal goals, notes, goals, calendars... anything. The great thing about a Bullet Journal is that it's highly customizable

Now that we're half-way through 2017, I thought I would share how I've been using my Bullet Journal, assess how well it's been working for me, and reflect on what I've learned from this exercise.

First, I've been using a standard, lined Moleskine notebook for my journal. I love these notebooks, but I think for my next Bullet Journal I'm going to select either the dotted Moleskine, or the grid Moleskine. Either of those will help me with my Bullet Journal layouts. You are welcome to use any notebook, although you can purchase an official Bullet Journal notebook from their website. 

I've been using my Bullet Journal to keep a record of the following:

  • Monthly Log - an action list for the entire month
  • Daily Log - a record of what I've done throughout the day (this log serves as both a to-do list and also a personal journal)
  • Goals and Habits - Using a grid system, I keep a tally of my personal goals and habits to track my progress in each area of my life.
  • Prayer Journal - a list of things I'm praying about throughout the month
  • Projects - a master list of all the video production and post-production projects I have to complete throughout the month
  • Movies and TV Shows - a list of things I'm watching throughout the month
  • Books - a list of what I'm reading throughout the month
  • Notes - I always set aside a few blank pages for notes I take throughout the month

I've been reading up on how other people are using their Bullet Journals and those posts have given me good ideas of other things to track throughout the month, so I'll probably be adding other items in the near future.

So far I've really enjoyed this system. There's something about physically writing things down that helps me to remember. Plus, everything I need is in one notebook, as opposed to many.

If you're interested in starting your own Bullet Journal, there's a great "how-to" guide on the official website, or you can check out this BuzzFeed article.

Recommended App for Film Scheduling

Image courtesy of  IndieWhip

Image courtesy of IndieWhip

I'm currently in pre-production on my next short film project Big and TallWe are scheduled to shoot later this month and I just finished the shot list and production schedule using the ShotLister app.

I don't know how many of you currently use, or have used this app, but I encourage you to take a look you haven't had the chance yet. I found it incredibly easy to use.

From the welcome screen, you can create a new project.

Once the project is created, you can start adding scenes, specifying the location, whether the scene is interior or exterior, the page of the script on which the scene takes place, how long the scene is, and which cast members are needed.

After the scene is created, you can then add specific shots within each scene, specifying which camera will be used (on a multicam shoot), the focal length, the gear needed (sticks, steadicam, dolly, etc.), which lens will be used, and any other notes you need to add.

When you are finished adding your shots, you can arrange them for your shooting day. Just tap and hold on each shot and drag it to reorder it.

Once all of your shots are ordered, tab over to the Shoot Day section and start adding individual scenes into your shooting day.

You can then specify how long each shot will take, add in time for set-ups, lunch, company moves, etc. You can also set your call time, sunrise/sunset times, and your wrap time. 

When you have added all your scenes into the shooting day, ShotLister will automatically tally the number of pages, shots, and camera setups you have scheduled for the day.

ShotLister is available for iOS and Android and costs $13.99. You can also purchase a Pro membership, which unlocks additional features, like the ability to import storyboards to your shot list.

What has your experience with ShotLister been like? Do you have any other app recommendations for filmmakers? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section.