Damn the torpedos – full script ahead!


The “damn” above doesn’t refer to sending out bombs. In the case of my broadcasting students it refers to not creating them. Don’t create a script that I can’t read and is merely words on paper. Dammit. I want a real script.

Right now the advanced students are struggling (once again) with two column scripts. If they had their druthers, they’d just sit down and edit. I want them to learn organization….which will lead to more critical thinking and in the end a better script and story.

For more than a month we’ve been working around a story I call “Ground Zero,” about how the real estate meltdown has affect our community and school. Students had a press conference and interviewed the president of the local Board of Realtors. A retired TV reporter came in and talked about the thought process of finding information and interviews for a story. Students shot B-roll in their neighborhoods and interviewed students on campus.

All of this happening around other assignments (in the real world you don’t just do one thing at a time).

And now the reality check – scripts are due tomorrow. Four out of ten students either have them done or are close. A fifth showed me his script yesterday. It was a list: narration, interview, photos, narration. That was pretty much it. Literally. Those were the four words he wrote on his script.

So today I once again review scripting. The left column is what we see. The right column is what we hear. You must have visuals to cover everything you hear. There is a slim third column to the far right if you want to time out your narrations and interview segments since the story must run between 1:30 and 4:00. No music – this is a news story.

Scripts must include either a transcribed interview or the start and end time of the interview segment. They must end with a tag out using our school sign-off (For EagleVison News, I’m ——).

I suspect much of the problem is, while we use the two column script all term, I don’t drill them on it. That will change next year. Full immersion is the answer.

On the other hand, my beginning class finally gets storyboarding. Words and pictures. You don’t have to be an artist – but I do want to see whether you are calling for a close-up or wide shot. They’re working on their sixty second commercials right now and I see some zingers.

Time to go deep down again…only twelve days til the end of the school year and I can resume blogging in a more consistent manner.

5 thoughts on “Damn the torpedos – full script ahead!

  1. Without structure, narration and forethought, all the compelling video in the world is just pixels in a dish. I always try to make th best ‘radio’ piece I can, then flesh out the video. Words matter. Teach ’em well.

  2. May I just say what a comfort to discover an individual who really knows what they’re talking about on the net. You actually know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people have to read this and understand this side of your story. I can’t believe you’re not more popular because you most certainly have the gift.

  3. What you said was very reasonable. But, what about this?

    what if you were to write a awesome headline? I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your blog,
    however suppose you added something that grabbed a person’s attention? I mean Damn the torpedos – full script ahead!

    | VideoJournalism is a little boring. You could look at Yahoo’s front page and
    note how they write post headlines to grab viewers to click.
    You might add a video or a related picture or two to get readers excited about what you’ve got to say.
    Just my opinion, it would make your blog a little bit more interesting.

    • DOM – some good suggestions if i were doing this to make money or attract an audience. My blog is my own little fiefdom where I do things my way. Some of the posts are pure words…some video onlyl, some a mix of video, stills, and words. All depends on my whims when I come up with an idea.

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