UPDATE: Not only has NASA produced an excellent video, but they also released a free “Mars Rover Landing” Xbox game…
Ten seconds into the average online video, 20% of your viewers have already abandoned you. At 20 seconds, better than a third are gone.
As a copywriter, this means you had better open your video with some drama or a powerful hook, or you just said good-bye to a sizable chunk of your audience.
Which is why this powerful NASA video caught my eye. Titled “7 Minutes of Terror: Curiosity Rover’s Risky Mars Landing” it opens with dramatic music and quickly hustles its way into a compelling voice-over: “When people look at it, it looks crazy.”
And it just gets better from there:
Notice how the tension builds throughout the first minute (analogous to the first act of a TV show or movie). Then the music climaxes, and I thought we’d take a breather.
Instead, the writer dialed it back just a little, launching into a concise explanation of the “Seven Minutes of Terror,” and detailing the problems facing the Mars Rover in a way that kept me wondering until the last minute how they planned to pull it off.
By then, you’re probably on board for the duration.
It’s a classic video formula, and if you’re writing a video script, you could do a lot worse than to follow the old TV plan:
- In Act 1, you put a kitten up a tree.
- In Act 2, you put him farther up the tree.
- In Act 3 — after a lot of drama — you get him down.
If you don’t think this formula works for informational videos, re-watch the NASA video. You’ll notice it’s an almost perfect fit.
Keep writing (with drama), Tom Chandler.