Join Amy DeLouise for an in-depth discussion in this video Developing a hook, part of Script Writing for Nonfiction Video.
- Let's focus on narrative arc for non-fiction. It's something that people don't always think about when they're writing a non-fiction story, especially if they're working on a corporate piece. But you really need all of these components to make a compelling video. So let's look at the first component, the hook, or the open. This is where you grab people and really pull them into the story. So if you're missing this element, you're going to have a little bit of trouble. One of the things that you want to do is make sure that the hook ties to the content in the climax.
So these two elements actually need to have some connection to one another. What I mean by that is, let's say you're doing the story of someone who's struggled their whole lives with weight, and they're extremely obese. Then that's the challenge that they have, that's going to tie to the climax of whether or not they lose that weight, and the hook is going to have to be something that brings the viewer in quickly to the story. So this is a story that I created about someone who is doing this very thing, struggling with her weight her whole life.
And she's a wonderful young woman now who's doing all kinds of wonderful things, but when she first started, she had this challenge and she realized that she probably would die if she didn't do something about it. So the very first part of the script, the hook, the narrator basically sets it up very quickly in this way. - From a young age, Maria had struggled with her weight. By the time she came to Children's National Health System, at the age of 14, she was over 400 pounds, and her severe obesity had become a threat to her life.
- So the narrator is telling us right away what was going on with Maria, and almost immediately, we understand what the challenge will be, and probably we have some inkling of where the climax is headed. That's our hook for this story. Sometimes hooks are very different. For example, in another piece, that was about a performing arts organization, the hook is really just to draw you in to the founding of the organization. And so the first lines of the show are this.
- Mrs. Shouse made the gift. - It belongs to all of us. - Her donating the land, and also her donation of money to get this up and running is just a heroic stirring that I think needs to be told throughout America. - I think the contributions of Mrs. Shouse are in evidence here. All our spirits are truly enriched by her gift. [upbeat guitar music] - So you see in this example, we're using an interview, and the person is talking about Mrs. Shouse, and maybe the people watching are not totally sure who she is, in many cases they do know who she is, but it's just a quick tease.
We know we're going to talk about her, we know we're going to talk about the organization she founded. It's just a little, tiny window into the beginning of the story. That's the hook, or the open. The main thing that's important to remember is the hook is not the exposition. Lots of times, people want to put all kinds of background information in the first paragraph of their script, and that just really weighs it down. So just wait a second, I promise we're going to get to that, and focus on what the hook might be.
In terms of writing process, sometimes I actually write the hook later, after I've worked through all the other materials. So it's not crazy to start your work with the exposition, but probably that shouldn't be the very first few moments of the video's script.
In this course, you'll learn how to write nonfiction scripts that work with a variety of budgets. Taught by Amy DeLouise, a passionate educator who has scripted hundreds of award-winning videos, it's packed with tools and tips for every level of writer and producer. Her script-to-screen workflow will help you develop your story goals and structure, create a narrative arc, work with sound bites, find the right tools to write your script, and pitch your script to clients and stakeholders.
- The benefits of scripting
- Defining your story goals
- Building a story structure, including point of view, characters, and style
- Creating a compelling narrative arc
- Creating a treatment
- Building shooting vs. editing scripts
- Writing before interviewing
- Working with script writing software
- Creating a script template
- Using storyboards for script pitches