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How to Structure a Video for Your Business

When creating a video, it's important to plan for the beginning, middle and end. Planning ahead will take your videos to the next level and it's highly advised.

We won't go into this too deeply because it's literally a topic that people write entire books about, but here's a brief outline to help you understand a structure that will engage your audience.

Any video should follow the same structure as any story - this includes novels, short stories, feature films, TV episodes, news, operas, 30 second commercials - you name it. Pick almost any good, remotely mainstream story and it will hit the same points.

1. The Opening

In the first 3 seconds, hook your audience's attention with something that offers value to them. It could be a text caption that indicates they might learn something, a crash zoom or something familiar.

2. The Orientation

Who is/are your main character*s* (this could also be a product, service or idea)? Where is this story being told? What is the history of this place / these people?

3. Inciting Incident / The Question

In a marketing video this would usually be establishing the main topic or point of the video - what the video will be about.

4. The Debate

In a movie, this is often referred to as the rejection of the inciting incident - the part where the hero refuses to go on the journey, but then changes their mind and does it anyway. In a marketing video this could be addressing the concerns of the naysayers or the unbelievers in your product, service or idea.

5. The Journey

Fun & Games - this is the meat of the story, the exploitation of the fun parts of the topic. The benefits of your product or service.

6. The Midpoint

The false win or false defeat - our hero's adversity. This could be highlighting a problem you solve, or explaining why their reasons for not buying don't, in fact, apply.

7. Bad Guys Close In

Build the problem - show how it goes beyond the superficial and impacts deeper aspects of your customer's life.

8. All is Lost

At this point you should show how without your help, this problem is virtually unsolvable.

9. Dark Night of the Soul

Our main character digs deep and, possibly with the help of a mentor, summons the strength to enter into the final battle for victory. This would most likely be a quick transition into 'but all is not lost!' in some way.

10. Finale

Bring it home by taking everything we've learnt thus far and using it to solve the problem once and for all, in a home run, knock out punch!

11. Closing Image

The equal and opposite of the Opening Image, we use this to contrast how far we've come since the beginning.

So that's a very brief outline of story structure. It will take some skill, talent and creativity to apply this but if you do, your video will be that much better for it. If you are interested in a deeper dive into screenwriting structure, we recommend Blake Snyder's Save the Cat.


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