Hollywood has learned from a century of experience that you have to have a script before you pick up a camera. It’s the story, after all, that determines the mood, the structure, the substance and the style of the communication experience.
When it comes to PowerPoint, we do the opposite. With our standardized corporate templates, we lock in the mood, structure, substance and style of a communication experience before we even consider the story, if we consider it at all.
Probably because writing a story is hard. A friend of mine is a VP for the company that produced The Aviator, a film that recently earned 11 Academy Award nominations. I asked him why there weren’t more good films coming out of Hollywood, and he said, "Because we don’t see that many good stories." When the livelihood of an entire industry depends on good stories and they’re just not appearing, you know that writing a story has got to be very hard, indeed.
The inventor of the motion picture camera is quoted as saying, "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." When it comes to our current PowerPoint approach, we need to set aside the fonts, colors and templates and learn from Hollywood that a good film is 99% perspiration and 1% visualization. The 99%, of course, is figuring out the story.
When we take it upon ourselves to do the hard work it takes to craft a persuasive story, we’ll produce more blockbuster communications than Hollywood could ever imagine.
Tip: Instead of opening PowerPoint and diving right into the graphics, spend time working on your story. What is the setting, who is the main character, what conflict has happened to bring your audience there, and what do you propose they do about it? The more time you spend thinking about your story, the more interesting and engaging your visuals will be when you get around to bringing your own script to life.