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Video News Releases (continued)

There are three different career fields in the production of VNRs --

  • Concept -- this is what you, the PR writer, are chiefly responsible for... coming up with the ideas, and then writing the Script Treatment and the Working Script.

    ...The end of this process is a working script.

  • Production -- this is best left to the professionals who make videos for a living. The production folks will take your script and turn it into a more detailed shooting script, then shoot your VNR and your B-roll.

    ...The end of this process is a master tape.

  • Distribution -- this is also a professional specialty, and there are specializations within this field. Some distribution companies handle nothing but sports clients, for example.

    ...The end of this process is multiple copies
        of your VNR distributed to stations.

As a PR Writer, you will concentrate on the concept -- but you need to know about the other two aspects as well.

How do you go about the business of scripting a VNR? That's what we'll begin to develop in this lesson. And, as usual, we'll begin with pre-writing.

At this point interrupt yourself for a few seconds and click here to email a note, to let me know at what time you read this lesson. This is like taking roll in a classroom. If I do not receive this note I will assume you have not read the lesson.

As with all PR writing, you need to begin with a message. What is it you want to say? What is the point you want to make? Does it lend itself to a visual development? On your Message Planner, what do you imagine will be the best visual representation of your message?

Since you were a child, you have been working with "scripts" -- the first time you saw a cartoon and tried to explain it to another child, what did you do? You described what you saw on the screen with your eyes, and you described what you heard through the speakers with your ears. Without using technical terms, you were providing the audio and the video, separately and together. You may not have thought about it, but describing movies is second nature to you.

Without giving it much thought, you separated the "audio" from the "video" just as surely as if you were using two separate columns -- "First the rabbit came out of his hole," you may have said, "and he was eating a carrot. He looked around. And then there was this little man with no hair, hiding behind a tree, and he had a shotgun. And the rabbit said, 'What's up, Doc?'" ...You get my point. You described what you saw on the screen and you described what you heard through the speakers.

When you write a VNR script treatment, you are doing essentially the same thing. The only difference is that when you write a script, you are describing a "movie" that you saw inside your head.

With a script treatment, you simply describe your video in the same way. It's completely intuitive. Except for the fact that all your dialogue should be typed in ALL CAPS, it's otherwise just a straightforward description.

Then, with a working script, you separate the audio and video into separate columns.

Before you begin on your own VNR, I want you to do two things:

  • First, look at a number of online examples. You can go to the following sites, or find your own:

  • Second, begin thinking about a worthy cause that you'd like to write for... It might be a political cause, like opposition to the World Trade Organization... or something to do with abortion rights, pro or con... or the importance of respecting handicapped parking... or the American Red Cross... or any of a dozen different causes. Then, begin research on that cause and then do a prepare a Message Planner and a VNR working script and script treatment.

What is a script treatment and a working script? -- go on to the next page.

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