Monday, 2 July 2012

Writing for the Future

Before you ask, no, this isn’t about premonitions or time travel! Here at Disclosure Group we know our limitations and quantum physics or the occult are definitely not in our remit. What we mean by the future is actually happening right now. It’s the huge revolution we are undertaking from broadcast media to online.

On February 14th, 2005 YouTube was founded (by three former Paypal employees believe it or not!). It was a video hosting service and the likes of which the world had never seen before so widely. It was eventually bought by Google in 2006 and still to this day remains unchanged in what it offers. However, this drastically different kind of service started a different kind of revolution; that of a shift in platforms for media. From then on television wouldn’t be the dominant medium by which material could be broadcast, and guess what, YouTube was (and is) FREE.

Most of us remember the slow introduction of cable and digital channels which slowly began to broaden our choice of programming. We can now also see the saturation of content to the point where picking out the best of the crop is becoming increasingly difficult to do (of course that’s only our opinion and we can be a grumpy lot).

With the advent of online content came the advent of online writing, and that’s something Disclosure Group have been very interested in for some time now! So much so we even commissioned an entire show geared towards being entirely online, the wonderfully colourful PAs.

So, because we’re nice sods here at Disclosure Group, we’ve compiled a few do’s and don’ts about writing for the newest medium on the planet! All of our points are our opinion only and should only be used as a humble suggestion. We’d love to hear your ideas on the topic as well so do write in and let us know!

Stay consistent.
We think the key to any show written for online is to keep the style as consistent as possible. Your audience won’t maintain interest if it looks like a different show every time they tube in.

Know your audience.
If you’re writing a drama for 12 - 16 year olds, make sure it’s appropriate and can maintain their interest. If you’re writing for 60 + bare in mind how many of that demographic will be online and have the time/inclination to watch!

Know their viewing habits.
Be mindful of your audience and their viewing habits (which you should do anyway, but with online it’s even more pertinent). When are your audience likely to watch your show and how does that affect it’s content?

Keep it simple.
Make sure your narrative and characters are easily digestible and can be followed while dipping in and out. That’s a good rule for writing generally, but more so in a medium that’s so fickle.

Keep episodes short
Instead of writing long scripts for each episode, try writing no more than 15 minutes as this is likely to be the length of time your audience will have to dedicate to it at any one time.

We hope this is in any way helpful! We love to hear success stories so make sure you’re one of them!

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