Shooting scripts – the AV approach

In the class, digital storytelling, we’re learning a lot about what make a videos successful. Humor has funny little a way of getting a message across while entertaining consumers at the same time, making them memorable. It takes a lot of planning to create a successful spot, too. Before writing fiction, for instance, it is essential to script out and storyboard the video. For this post, we’re going to focus on shooting scripts and I’ll provide you guys with two humorous examples. 

The shooting script works like a blueprint. Just as the builders study the blueprint first, and keep going back to it even as they build, the director follows the specifications of the shooting script. It’s a set of directions for the director (and the actors and the cinematographer and the art director and others on the production end).

Shooting scripts come in different styles. The best known is the one-column feature film style with its rigid rules of what’s capitalized, what’s left-justified, what’s centered and so on—but we’re not going to follow that template. We in Digital Storytelling are better served by the two-column audio/visual (AV) style because it makes a point of showing the close correlation between words and pictures.


Okay, soo here we go!


Foot Locker x adidas “No Rings” featuring Damian Lillard


Athlete Damian Lillard talks on his cellphone in the living room with the basketball game on and bragging about his new adidas gear, when inadvertently offends all of his friends.






[Wide shot]: A group of guys sitting in living room, watching basketball game on television. They are facing away from camera. Damian joins the guys & sits down on the sofa, with his left hand holding a cellphone to his ear and puts down a shopping bag with his right hand.

Game sounds through shot 14


DAMIAN: Yeah, just picked up some fresh  adidas gear from Foot Locker


[Medium shot]: Shows Damian, dressed head-to-toe in adidas gear, on the phone, fiddling with his shorts, looking down

DAMIAN: Look good play good, right?


[Close up]: Damian looking down, slightly nodding

DAMIAN: The last thing I want I want to be is one of those guys that never won a ring, tah (laugh sound)!


[MS] Barry (on left) & L.T. (on right) quickly glance from the game to at Damian with blank faces.

Damian’s knees “dirty” the shot in the left of the screen



[MS] Looking back at his friends, Damian has a guilty face and lowers his phone from his ear



[MS] Barry and L.T. still looking at Damian without a blink

L.T. shrugs both hands in disarray


Barry: Wow.


DAMIAN: Barry…(sigh)…L.T.


[WS]: Shows the opposite view of the living room with all three guys in the shot. A new pair of knees “dirty” the shot in the left-hand bottom of the screen


Damian, still holding his phone, explains himself with his hands in the air. Barry and L.T. look back at Damian

DAMIAN: I meant one of those…basketball players that never won a ring


[MS]: Chris, sitting in a chair with his right hand to his face, scowls back at Damian. Damian’s head dirties the shot.



[MS]: Damian turns toward Chris, colorfully uses his arms to explain himself, pointing liberally at himself and back at Chris. He’s still holding his cellphone.

DAMIAN: No, Chris- I didn’t mean you I meant one of them legends



[WS]: Chris still scowling back at Damian.


Damian, smiling and guilty, lifts his arms and looks up to his left.

His face drops.

DAMIAN: who lost in the finals, over and over!

DAMIAN: (laughs)


[MS]: Shows Karl standing in the doorway, wearing a grill apron and holding a plate of hamburgers. He stares blankly at Damian while Damian looks back. Barry is scowling at Damian with his hand resting on his knee. He is standoffish.



[CU]: Karl slowly walks inside holding the plate of hamburgers. He doesn’t blink.

KARL: Burgers are ready.


[MS]: Barry looks back at Karl and waves him over to join everyone around the TV.

L.T.: Karl! Come back!


[WS]: Shows everyone around the TV. They are all looking in the distance, respectively. Barry watches Karl walk away.

L.T: Karl!


Black screen with white text, “IT’S THE PLAYOFFS”

adidas gear cascades across the screen




Accent sounds


Foot Locker logo

“APPROVED.” Social media signs

Accent sounds


Wide shot of the living room full of Damian, Barry, L.T. and Chris watching the basketball game, washed-out white.



Adidas logo “SHOP ORIGINALS”

Basketball game sounds




Accent sounds



FirstBank – Identity Theft Protection


Josh waits for his order at the coffee bar. His friend walks up to him, wearing the same shirt. Further awkwardness is soon taken care of.






[WS]: Josh standing alone, facing the coffee bar as he waits for his order.

A friend jovially approaches and greets him.

Josh nods.

The friend takes a step back and calmly points at his shirt then back at Josh, smiling

Josh is aloof and locks eyes on the coffee bar


A smiling man in a suit walks up to the friend and he looks at the suited man as he grabs him.

Busy coffee shot sounds through shot 5


FRIEND: Oh hey Josh…


JOSH: Hey what’s up man?



FRIEND: Uh oh…Looks like we’re twins…

JOSH: Yeah…


[MS]: The suited man rips the shirt down the middle, off the friend’s back.

Josh faces them, watching casually.

The suited man grabs the entire shirt and walks away.

The friend looks around in disbelief

Josh watches the man and looks at his friend. He nods confidently

Ripping sounds






JOSH: Sorry about that, he’s with my bank


[WS]: The friend, now bare-backed, still holding his hands in disbelief, stares a Josh


A barista walks over behind the bar with two drinks in hand and places one on the counter

Josh takes his drink.

She reads the next drink and puts it down


The friend covers his chest with his left hand and takes his drink with his right hand.





BARISTA: ‘Got a triple no-whip skinny mocha


BARISTA:…And another triple no-whip skinny mocha


[MS]: The shirtless friend looks down eagerly at his drink when the man in the suit quickly approaches and bats the drink out of his hand, onto the floor.

The shirtless guy looks away, frustratingly

Josh walks away, without a care.

Sounds of coffee spilling


[WS]: The suited man takes one last look at the friend then follows Josh out the door.

The friend is left shirtless, with spilled coffee at his feet.

White text: “We’re here to protect your identity.”






A guitar melody begins through the end


Animated First Bank Logo

Text: “Member FDIC”




It’s amazing that so much thought and detail go into just 30 seconds of video. Could you imagine the amount of shots in a 2 minute video…what about a 30 minute video!? Touche to all the creatives out there!



Wait, that’s a commercial for what?!

Some commercials can seriously leave you scratching your head. “..what?” or“wait, that was a commercial for what?”  It’s funny when this happens. If brands aren’t actually selling their product or service in the little time they have our attention, what are they doing? Are they telling a story? Are they selling a feeling? Do they make an emotional connection with us? Or do they drop the ball and become lost in the digital noise? If they play their cards right, these kinds of commercials can certainly get consumers buzzing about them.

Looking back at previous posts, I’d just like to comment that I seem to gravitate towards the TV-spots that trigger a more sentimental emotion:

They were profound enough for me to write about and share, right??


Let’s take a look at a few more recent advertisements that aren’t so literal, where we don’t see the product, at least in the body of the commercial:


Calvin Klein: Endless Euphoria

Perfume/cologne ads seem to always fit into the not-so-literal category. Since you can’t have smellovision, brands have to create a different kind of draw. So why not have a beautiful model wandering about a fairytale meadow with a her sexy mate? The music score creates an epicness that enthralls passion and longing between the two. The fragrance is described as “a floral perfume with top notes of cherry blossom, mandarin and bergamot” however we wouldn’t know that just by watching this ad. We wouldn’t even really know if it were selling a fragrance other than the fact the bottle is presented to us at the end with a voiceover telling us about it. What is the brand positioning statement here? This might be more literal due to the naming. How about “Aromatic-Euphoria for All”?

Sprint: Framily Portrait

This ad is like the opening credits of something. We meet the “cast” but realize each member is part of this family, a quirky, non-traditional family for sure. The young girl is playing an acapella version of a “classic heavy metal rock ballad” that brings a sense of endearment to the audience. Each individual is shown in an environment that truly exhibits their personality. Is it a commercial for a new sitcom? No! It’s an ad for Sprints’ new data plan of course! The spot ends with Friends + Family = Framily. A simpler brand positioning statement could be “Connecting Everyone”.

Mutual of Omaha: Warren’s Aha moment

Warren tells his story of a moment that inspired him. This sort of strategy is unexpected from the regular pace of television commercials. It’s Warren’s story, that’s it. It’s almost like he is suddenly in your family room telling you the story. The ad is a pattern interrupt. He tells a heartbreaking story of how he and his daughter realized a young girl’s misfortune of never owning a book in her life. He was inspired by this moment to get more books to kids in his town. He never once speaks about how a financial organization, like Mutual of Omaha helped him. A brand positioning statement for this ad could be “Sharing the wealth”.


What do you think? Coming up with a brand positioning statement with as little words as possible is not easy. I welcome any suggestions!

False advertising comes too naturally for the food industry

This is kind of a sidebar discussion, but somewhat relevant. I came across this video thanks to Upworthy and thought it was a) hilarious and b) terrifying. In a previous post, I wrote about how I’ve subscribed to a clean(er) way of life when it comes to food choices. I say clean(er) because I can’t always eat organic since, well, this girl is on a budget and I like to live a little every now and then. However, it is important to be conscious of what you’re putting in your body & READ THE INGREDIENTS forchristsake!

This would be great if it wasn’t so true.

The video reminds us of the loopholes food marketers get away with and lead the masses to believe they’re eating healthy, when in fact, the food is just a food-like product. It makes me wonder if these marketers and advertisers ever face a moral/ethical dillema or is it really just all about the money? Clearly…and sadly…it’s probably about that (gmo)-dough!

Be careful & educate yourself, guys! Netflix has a lot of food docs that I highly suggest.

Apple iPhone 5 commercial shows how we share through pictures

Has anyone seen this Apple iPhone commercial, yet? It’s beautiful, captivating, and incredibly relatable. It really exhibits the capabilities of iPhone 5’s camera.

The ad brings to light how much we LOVE to share our lives through pictures – no matter what device we use.

Did you know that as of April 2013, 240 billion photos have been uploaded to Facebook?

That is an inSANE number!

I’ve mentioned in my About page that I love Instagram. Something about getting that perfect shot and adding the right filter can enhance a picture so much! & we get excited for our friends and other users to Like it. “Likes” have really become like social currency in today’s world of sharing. The Apple commercial demonstrates the exercise of capturing that perfect moment and the raw emotion of satisfaction it can bring.

[follow me on instagram: @AmandaSains]

Natural & organic living: Millennials have time for that!

Fast food companies, like McDonald’s, are scratching their heads because they simply don’t know what to do with us Millennials!

Advertising Age obtained a recent internal memo from the Golden Arches stating the fast-food giant has failed to make it on millennials’ list of top 10 restaurants. “They’re 80 million [people] but they’re influencing the next 80 million, both younger and older,” Gary Stibel, CEO at New England Consulting Group, told AdAge.

Their response: The McWrap


My issue, and I don’t think I’m alone here, is, that it’s still from McDonald’s. It’s still processed and full of a ‘chemical shit-storm’ and empty calories. (Thank you pinterest for this new phrase.)

Well McDonald’s & other fast food troths: it might have something to do with the fact that the Millennials are subscribing to healthier lifestyles. Paleo, local, organic, gluten-free, etc. etc. , are rising trends amongst this age group. And we’re willing to pay.


 We’ve grown up watching the country become obese and other countries knocking at our American fast food diets. Not to mention Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Food Matters and other popular health documentaries available on Netflix and the internet.

According to Jean Twenge, author of Generation Me, millennials (Generation Y) are a self-absorbed, confident yet open-minded generation, more demanding than their parents ever were.

….yes. but we know what we want…

Soo companies trying-to-reach-us-but-can’t-figure-it-out:


I can certainly vouch for this rising trend as myself and most of my peers have jumped on the clean-eating bandwagon, therefore McDonald’s is definitely off the menu! What I find interesting is that lot of health and fitness inspiration stems from social media! Hashtags on Instagram and of course the plethora of recipes on Pinterest make it easy for the novice health-nut. Plus, people love to share the meals they’ve cooked on social media, so everyone is bouncing ideas off each other!

Could we hypothesize that it’s social media that’s encouraging us to be health conscious? (I think so!)

With ‘80 million Millennials, all influencing the next 80 million, both younger and older’, what kind of shifts in the food industry are we going to see? As marketers, we need consider these trends so we can better reach this cohort because I don’t think being healthy is going out of style anytime soon.

[My suggestion: If you can’t reach us, hire us!]