Capturing the voice of a speaker–that’s one of my favorite creative challenges. Over the years, it’s a role I’ve taken 12 or 13 times with the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Awards telecast.
With the 2018 Dove Awards telecast (pictured above), that assignment applied to approximately 25 people. Most are gifted musicians who are a bit unnerved by the unnatural presence of a teleprompter. I work to make them “sound like themselves”–their vocabulary, their cadence, their tone. I also try to make them feel as comfortable as possible as they serve a utilitarian role. It becomes their job to move the show forward by presenting an award, offering a reflection or introducing a performance. As I stand before the show-ready stage, I never cease to be amazed that I get to be a participant in making something almost magical happen.
A few script tips learned along the way:
- Keep it short. In the awards show format, no one wants soliloquies. I typically write each sentence short enough to be spoken with a single breath. When writing banter, I almost never write more than a breath’s worth of words for each back-and-forth.
- Keep it natural. A conversational tone works both for the speaker’s mouth and audience’s ears.
- Lay off the self-aggrandizement. Years ago I watched a torturous Oscar precursor to an award presentation with an actor talking about how great actors were. I promised myself that I would never travel that road as a writer.
- Keep it moving. Never dwell on any moment–even a great moment–longer than an audience will enjoy it.
- Incorporate something the audience isn’t expecting: a surprise collaboration, a zig when the audience expects you to zag, a revelation that leads to an “oh, wow” moment.
I love working with clients to achieve their goals, especially in the realm of presentations. I’ve written humor and motivational speeches for Bridgestone conventions, scripted statements for companies faced with crisis management situations and worked closely with producers and animators to create explainer videos addressing complicated health care issues. And love the tailoring required for each project.
Whether your assignment is magical or mundane, I’d love to help you walk it through from basic idea to bravura execution.