Today’s writing assignment:
Please write a package, less than 3 minutes long, plus a 15 second anchor intro and a 10-15 second tesae to play earlier in a program, promoting the upcoming package.
Use the shot sheet provided and the video at this link:
See also the anchor script that’s been given to you. It would air just before your package intro, also on rleated Myanmar news.
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 13:00.
This is the final class for this semester’s TV News Writing course, 6092A and 6092B.
6092B will take the final exam and writing assignment on April 17 at 630pm.
6092A will take the final exam and writing assignment on April 23 at 10am.
You will fill out the standard course evaluation sheet first, then take a 10 question final quiz and write a package, including the anchor intro and a tease.
P.S. Please see previous weeks’ posts for updates, including writing examples from previous assignments.
6092B will meet tonight as usual.
See you there.
Week 9 focused on writing “kicker” stories. A “kicker” is a story about something funny or odd that is often placed at the end of a broadcast.
A kicker story can be a package, if there’s enough of a story to tell and enough video to support a package, or it can be a shorter anchor script.
There are several challenges in writing kickers. Among them, being funny or clever in your writing, without being disrespectful to your subject or viewers. We must also remember that standard journalistic values still apply to kickers and features. We must use proper attribution and fact checking and we must not insert our own opinions into the stories.
We watched a few kicker-style stories by CNN’s Jeanne Moos and Andrew Brown. You can see some of Moos’s packages at this link, and elsewhere on the CNN website. http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/12/22/gotta-watch-the-top-jeanne-moos-videos-of-2011/
During Week 8′s class we practiced speaking to camera in two ways – with a teleprompter, as an anchor would, and without a script, for a reporter’s walk ‘n’ talk piece to camera.
A few of the many important things to remember when speaking on camera as a “talking head in a box”: don’t move your head around a lot; your facial expressions will look exaggerated, so use them, but do so discreetly; speak clearly; project your voice so that you can be heard and so that your energy level increases.
We found that pre-reading scripts helps and that the way the scripts are written can help or hinder an anchor’s delivery.
Doing a good piece to camera in the field should involve organizing your thoughts, but not writing and memorizing a section of script. If you try to recite something word for word you will most likely look stiff and unnatural on camera. To do a walk ‘n’ talk, find a place that communicates something about your story, choose a spot to begin your PTC and a spot to end it. (Point A & Point B). Discuss this with your camera operator so that you can both rehearse once or twice. Start talking before you start walking, and finish talking after you stop walking. Keeping your PTC’s short and simple will help. Look for opportunities to add value with your PTCs, rather than the traditional stand-up at the end of your package. DO something, SHOW something. Be natural. Be yourself.
Please take note that the deadline for submitting the latest assignment, in which you will tell a story of your own through a “main character”, has been extended to Monday, March 26 at noon. This will give you two weekends to work on it. Good luck and don’t hesitate to email me with questions at email@example.com
Week 7 notes
In Week 7 we reviewed: the answers to the mid-term quiz; the Thai HIV packages; and some remaining points regarding the Philippines Floods packages.
Our in-class writing exercise was an anchor script using video and SOT on a wildlife smuggling story. Your graded Pangolin Raid scripts will come back to you shortly.
We finished the class by focusing more closely on the Particular to General storytelling formula. By using an individual, or a family, as a vehicle for telling a story about a broader issue, we can help the viewers relate to the human side of the story, and increase their interest in the story. People don’t like to watch stories about “issues” as much as they like to watch stories about PEOPLE.
This week’s out of class assignment is to identify and interview a main character through which you can tell a story. Think of an original story idea, find character who represents the broader issue in your story, research the story, interview the “star” of your package, and write a script around SOTs extracted from your interview. Try to write a package with a TRT of less than three minutes. Any and all ideas are acceptable and welcome, but this will probably be easier if you pursue a feature story, rather than a “day of”, hard news story. Be sure to think of spending a little time on “character development” or “character introduction”. What video shots, what script information, and what answers to your questions (as SOTs) will help the viewers quickly develop an impression of your main character as a person, rather than a statistic?
The focus of the Thai HIV package writing exercise was to employ the Particular to General storytelling formula. See notes and examples on the Thai HIV packages here: Thai HIV pkg examples.
The focus of the Philippines Floods package writing exercise was to make effective use of dramtic video and natural sound. See examples of Philippines Floods packages here: Philippines Flood examples.
Please report to the Digital Media Lab for class next week. We will not go to Cyberport, but will do some work with camera and teleprompter on campus. Watch this space for more info.
Week Six began with a 12 question mid-term quiz. Grades will be given to you as soon as possible.
We continued to review the Top Stories and Teases assignment from two weeks earlier.
Here are some examples of well written scripts.
Top Stories examples
When writing teases, remember the rule: “Tease, don’t tell.” Don’t tell the story, just hint at what’s interesting about it, and make the viewers stay tuned to hear the full story.
Top Stories, or “Headlines”, are very short versions of the day’s important news stories. They are usually about 15 seconds long – two or three sentences – just enough to tell the essential facts of the story.
We looked at some examples of well-written portions of Philippines Floods packages. These examples showed us good use of compelling video and sound at the start of the package. We also saw good script to shot matching and good use of video to tell the story, while short direct sentences gave us essential details. We’ll look at a few more in our next class and post examples here on the blog.
In preparation for the next writing assignment, we looked at a storytelling style sometimes called “Particular to General” or “Specific to General”. Using this structure, the script begins by referring to a specific individual or business or location, etc. We then learn that this particular person, place or thing is an example of something broader and more general.
If a package (or a newspaper article) ends by returning to the specific example used at the start, we call this a Full Circle Ending. The pattern is Specific=>General=>Specific.
This week’s writing assignment is to try the PTG (Particular To General) storytelling style on an agency package kit: Thailand HIV Drugs
The news agency shotsheet is here: Thai-HIV-Reuters-copy
A link to the agency video is here: You must use this link to see the video. It is not available to the public. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2tN4U-7Vf8
The assignment is to write 15–20 second intro for an anchor to read. Then write a 1:30-2:00 minute package that starts with the HIV+ man near the end of the video feed, then tells the broader story of the ARV drugs being made available to HIV+ people in Thailand. We’ll correct & analyze your stories after reading week. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org Deadlines: 6092A: Wednesday March 7 6pm; 6092B: Thursday March 8 6pm.
A make up/review class will be offered for those students who missed any or all of the first 3 weeks of JMSC 6092 and 0051. It will be held Wednesday 4pm-7pm Feb. 21 at JLG-01 (James Hsioung Lee Science Building). See you there. –Matt