Discover the power of plot and how you can easily apply it to your video.

Think your video doesn’t need a plot? Think again. Ignore your plot and you’re missing an opportunity to increase its quality dramatically. Developing a plot for your video doesn’t have to be be intimidating. Think of plot as a verb, as in, to draw a plan or map. You are simply defining the beginning, middle and end of your film and drawing a line through it. If the line that runs through it is curved, then you’ve also created an arc. Even the simplest story arc will engage your audience in at the beginning, surprise them in the middle, and satisfy them at the end. 

plot story arc graphic
Characteristics of plot and story arc for video

Use following questions to help define the plot to your video, and lay the groundwork for a compelling story arc.

  1. What is the inciting incident for this communications message? More simply, why did you need to create this video? Was it a eureka moment or the culmination of research? If you identify the underlying problem that you are trying to solve, your audience will lean in and want to get involved.
  1. What are the contrasts and challenges associated with this problem? There is great power in vulnerability and revealing conflict or challenges is what elicits empathy from your audience and makes emotional connections. If this level of transparency is too much for your organization, approach this step with contrasts. Contrasts are characteristics of your message that show differences. If your video is about pushing a new marketing initiative, identify what’s new about this campaign and how it is different than what was there before. What are the new ways of thinking behind it? How will it make the company different? How will it make employee’s jobs different? These contrasts underline what was against what will be, showing transformation, a key element in story arcs.
  1. How you are solving the problem? This is your opportunity to dig deeper by peeling back the curtain and showing the collaborations, processes and thought leadership behind your solution. Sharing this will instill trust by making viewers feel more integral to your organization and give them tools to do their jobs better.
  1. What is your vision for the future? How does this affect the company in the short and long term? What are the next steps for the viewers? Your call-to-action ends the video but continues the story, as viewers see themselves within the context of a larger continuum.

Defining the plot to your video is the difference between presenting information and communicating a message. Your viewers will feel a connection to the message and become more engaged with your organization.