Sketchnotes of KIKK Festival

Think outside the ordinary. You never know where you might go – Dominic Wilcox

I had a fantastic time at KIKK 2018 festival this year. This is the first time I randomly met soooo many awesome people and had some very interesting conversations. Here are some of my personal sketchnotes of a few of the talks I attended. My personal take away from all the talks was the importance of observing the mundane to discover deep meaning about ourselves and our surroundings. And oh… analog will never go out of fashion 🙂

I enjoyed Dominic Wilcox’ talk. I even grabbed a copy of his book. Shame I didn’t get his autograph. Check out the book “The LIttle Inventors” https://www.littleinventors.org/book

I love Stefanie Posavec’s analog approach to data. Check out her book “Dear Data” http://www.dear-data.com/theproject/
Brendan Dawes’ playful approach is so refreshing. What is there not to love about his “Happines Machine”?http://www.brendandawes.com/projects/happinessmachine

You can read Jenny Odell’s talk here: https://medium.com/@the_jennitaur/designing-for-the-in-between-hybrids-1990s-net-art-and-a-giant-floating-worm-34be64b872d3

Nelly Ben Hayoun is a force of nature! OMG! This person is shaking up the world in an awesome way. http://nellyben.com/

5 questions to ask when scripting your explainer video

With their short durations, straight-to-the-point message and engaging visuals, explainer videos are one of the most effective ways to attract your audience attention. Apart from boosting brand awareness, this compact marketing tool is fantastic at educating your audience about the how, what and why of your service/product.
Making sure we keep the video content digestible and not get carried away with the finer details can be a challenging task. This is why I came up with five questions to consider when drafting your script for an explainer video. By script, I mean the narration or voice-over of your video.

How good is your script at grabbing audience attention?

If you haven’t grabbed your audience’s attention within the first 10 seconds you’ve probably lost them before you even started. We’ve all seen those TV ads where the first opening sequence is so mysterious and strange that it keeps us guessing throughout. The big reveal comes at the end but usually leaves us disappointed. Viewers don’t want to wait until the end of your video for the punchline. The first opening sentence of your script is the most important part of the script. Get to the point. Write that hook.

How does your script answer the questions your audience is asking?

Knowing your audience can help you avoid making assumptions about their needs and desires. Find out what would make them happy or what is preventing them from getting their work done then match those insights with your video message. Share how your solution would solve their problem. Take the time to test your script with a focus group. This would help in identifying feelings and perceptions and what your target audience is thinking about a your service/product. Make it relatable.

How engaging is your script?

It is tough to hold on to your audience attention for the full length of your video. Keep them thinking, “How will this turn out?” Sparking curiosity will inspire your audience to want to learn more.  Share useful content. Teach them something new that would make their lives better. Another way to keep them attentive is to tap into their emotions. Sharing an emotional story can stimulate empathy with your audience. Remember, engagement is currency.

What tone of voice does your script have?

An explainer video is like a good friend. A good friend knows you and knows how to speak to you. And when a good friend speaks to you they speak in a conversational tone. Speaking with a conversational tone creates connection. Bridging connection builds trust with your audience. Keep the key message simple. Make sure it’s digestible. Understandable. Try reading your script out loud. Does it sound friendly? Does it flow well? Does it sound believable? With a trust worthy voice you can confidently point out why your service/product is the ultimate solution.

Does your script have a positive ending?

Your video may have started on a negative emotion but you have to end on a positive note. You want you audience feeling satisfied with what they have learnt about your service/product. Think about how your message will transform the lives of your viewers for the better. What positive action would you like your audience to take in order to achieve their goals in life or work?

There isn’t a right way or wrong way to write a script. Sure it needs to have a beginning, middle and end, but not necessarily in that order. As long as you keep it short (1-2 minutes), straight-to-the-point and engaging. Oh, it can also be entertaining too.
If you’re feeling stuck with writing your script and looking for some inspiration, check out some of these explainer videos.  And if you need assistance with your script feel free to drop me a message.

Creating that sticky-note video

I created a hand-crafted explainer video out of sticky-notes. Let me explain.

I was approached by Lucas and Marie-Amelie who were on the organisation team for the upcoming Startup Weekend ‘Changemakers’ edition (2015). Apart from the need to develop visuals to promote the event, they also wanted to create a promotional video out of sticky-notes.

I’d like to walk you through my process:

  • script
  • storyboard
  • inspiration
  • set design
  • filming
  • editing

Before we dive into it, check out the end result below.

(Check out more of my hand-crafter videos here)

SCRIPT

I first met Lucas and Marie-Amelie to discuss expectations for the explainer video. They wanted the video to reflect the joys and challenges of taking part in a startup weekend. I had attended a couple of startup weekends in the past so I knew the sort of ‘vibe’ they wanted the video to reflect. We agreed to a 2 minute video. Before starting any video project, you have to start with a script. The final script totalled 296 words. The tone of voice we were looking for was ‘fun’. 

INSPIRATION

One of the earliest ideas they had was to use sticky-notes in the video. During a startup weekend participants go through tons of sticky-notes. It made sense to reflect that in the video. I had never created a video with sticky-notes before so I was totally up for the challenge. 

STORYBOARD

Creating a storyboard from a script can be a tricky task. How do you know where to split the script? You have to think in pictures, or in this case, think in ‘sticky-notes’. One sticky-note per idea. Or even one small sketchnote per sticky-note. I limited myself to two sizes of sticky-notes – 76x76mm and 76x127mm. I also wanted to use various colours too.  I decided to focus on getting the visuals down first then figure out the colour scheme after I got storyboard approval from the client. Check out the storyboard here. The storyboard is formatted into three columns – first column for number of the frame, second for the narration and third for the visuals. Using numbers helps the client identify which frame they’d like to give feed back on. The visuals in the storyboard are very rough which is more than enough to convey the message. 

SET DESIGN

Once I got script approval I pulled out all my sticky-notes to figure out the layout. It took some time shuffling the sticky-notes around on my desk until I found a composition I was happy with. I was happy with the grey colour of my desk as it made the colourful sticky-notes stand out well. I also wanted the final image to have all sticky-notes in frame. This is when I decided that it will flow in a circular motion. Starting from the top going clock-wise. While I was setting up the sticky-notes I realised that I didn’t highlight the 3 days of the event in the storyboard. I solved it by using smaller sticky-notes (25x76mm) to point out the days.

FILMING

I like to have the voice-over (narration) delivered to me before I start filming. This gives me an idea of the rhythm of the video. Listening to the voice-over while re-viewing the storyboard helps me imagine what the final video would look like. It helps me decide framing (shot size) and if I’ll use any transitions in the final edit such as a ‘dissolve’ or a ‘wipe’. Best to decide on transitions before filming.

Since the sticky-notes are very small, I had to position the camera very close to the table. I was not pleased with the lighting as I had a lot dark shadows caused by my hands. I didn’t have extra lights, but I knew I could get away with it since all eyes will be on the sticky-notes and the video will be sped up.

In the storyboard at frame number 3 I included all 5 categories of people into a single frame, but then in the final video, I separated each category into a separate sticky-note. That happens sometimes as I like to improvise during the filming stage. Certain challenges arise in the filming stage that you didn’t expect when drafting the storyboard. Or sometimes you find another solution to shoot a certain scene which you didn’t think of when you had storyboarded it. Sometimes I shot alternative scenes then decide in the editing stage if I’ll keep it or not. This is why I find making these hand-crafted videos so exciting.

EDITING

I love the editing stage when you bring the shots, the voice-over and background music all together.

In the past I used to edit a lot on my iPad using Pinnacle Studio Pro as I had found it very easy to use and it supported Dropbox too. I sometimes use iMovie on my iPhone6 for quick edits which works very well too. Nowadays I’m using Adobe Premiere Pro CC on my laptop. It obviously makes synchronising video to the narration very easy.

I didn’t use any transitions (dissolves, wipes, fade-in, etc.) between scenes for this video. I made sure during filming that  each scene included the previous sticky-note in one corner of the video frame. This helps the viewer keep orientation of the space and direction the sticky-notes are being placed.

I added a ‘zoom-in’ at 1:21 of the video as I felt the video needed some form of bridge into the next part of the video. It also acted as a short pause in the video giving your eyes a break from all that quick drawing.

CONCLUSION

I had a great time working on this hand-crafted video. I got to try out a different way of conveying a message. Besides who doesn’t like playing around with sticky-notes? The client was very happy with the end result. I was also hired to graphic record all the pitches of the event and coach participants shape their final pitch. I got to connect with awesome entrepreneurs. Check out the post-event video here 

Client testimonial

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, please drop me a line in the comments section below. Very happy to share the experience.

(Check out more of my hand-crafted videos here)

Making room for Conversation

Last week I received a request from someone wanting to connect on LinkedIn. His face didn’t look familiar. I accepted. Always happy to expand my online network.

I always send a welcome note.

“Hi there, thanks for connecting”.

“Would you be interested to work together?” he asks.

I check his profile again.
He’s based in South America working for an international organisation.

“Of-course!”

We schedule a Skype call.

Continue reading “Making room for Conversation”

A Mile in My Shoes – an art project on empathy

At the annual KIKK Festival that took place in Namur last weekend, I entered a large shoe box that was standing outside the festival entrance. “A Mile in My Shoes” was written across the side. Not much to see inside except for the large shelf at the back of the room filled with shoe boxes. A warm welcome from a young man who asked for my shoe size.
I asked him,

“What’s this art project about?”

“You put on the shoes of someone and listen to their story.” he replied with a warm smile.

“Cool”

Then he repeated,
“So, what’s your shoe size?”

Continue reading “A Mile in My Shoes – an art project on empathy”