What Comes First^* the Script or the PowerPoint?

November 12, 2014 | Amy OBrien
What Comes First^* the Script or the PowerPoint?

“You’re going the wrong way!”

“How would he know where we’re going?”

The scene is from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.  A couple is yelling out the car window to Del Griffith and Neal Page (John Candy and Steve Martin), trying to warn them that they are traveling the wrong way down the highway. Del has absolutely no idea he’s about to come face-to-face with two Mack trucks, and insinuates that the couple must be drunk for thinking they know where they’re headed – as in their destination.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

It’s a scene that makes me laugh every time I see it.

Unless you’re a movie buff or have a background in film, you probably haven’t given much thought to how a movie like this is made. You just sit back and enjoy the show.

But what you’re seeing is the end result. Filmmaking didn’t start with two cars traveling down a highway and four actors improvising. It began with a script – a screenplay that set the scene, described the characters, and contained clear, compelling, and engaging dialogue. 

You know when a movie is good, because it doesn’t require you to think too hard, struggle to stay awake, or want to walk out of the theater. It captures your attention – maybe even makes you laugh or learn something.

You want your Brainshark to be the same way.

Creating a Brainshark is a bit like making a mini-movie, and one of the biggest challenges people have when it comes to creating great content is with scriptwriting – from finding out that they need one to figuring out how to write one.

When PowerPoint was invented, something happened to the way presentations were developed. People were no longer asked to write a speech. They were told to “put together a PowerPoint.”

During a live talk, the words on the slides served as cues that reminded the speaker of what they were going to say next, but they no longer served as the visual aid designed to augment their message. They became the presentation itself, giving birth to death by PowerPoint.

If you’re like many new Brainshark Authors when they realized a script was needed, you may have resisted it at first or tried to force-fit one to match an existing deck. You asked yourself, “What should I say when I get to this slide?” and tried to work from there. 

But if you do it like this, “You’re going the wrong way” – or at least making the process a whole lot harder than it has to be. Like making a movie, you need to start with a script, and believe it or not, it’s much easier when you do.

Open up Microsoft Word or another text editor. Write your script, and then cut and paste sections of it into the notes area of PowerPoint. Keep each slide to 30 seconds or less when read aloud, considering natural breaks in speech. Then let the script drive your slide design, rather than the other way around.

Brainshark’s 6-step scriptwriting process and 5-part approach to slide design can help you take your Brainshark creation process in a whole new direction. Consider hosting a Design like an Artist workshop to learn how.

Image credit: www.WingClips.com

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