I recently emceed a charity event and had the opportunity to listen to Dylan Nolle’s life story. Dylan is now a grown man and married but he was born with a condition known as Arthrogryposis Multiple Congentila. In simple terms, the birth defect left him with two non-working arms. As a kid, doctors told his parents to amputate his arms and that he would never lead a normal life or go to traditional public school. As you can guess, through hard work and determination, Dylan not only went to public school but he was a successful place kicker on his high school football team. He later attended Arizona State University and got a law degree and he is now a sports agent. From the moment he started talking, he was able to engage the audience and get their attention. I was locked-in.

There are a many compelling stories out there but not everyone knows how to tell it. It is a lesson for today’s video production industry where there are many new companies, new cameras and gadgets, new software, and all the latest and greatest toys. But the message is lost without great storytelling. Storytelling is what separates the big boys from the kids with camcorders. So what are the keys to becoming a great video storyteller?

Get their attention immediately. Maybe it’s a powerful sound bite. Or emotion caught on-camera. But if you fail in the first five seconds, your video has no chance.

Weave a compelling story. Music, snappy sound bites, voice track, and compelling visuals may all be necessary elements to any great video. Long talking head shots,  excessive graphics, wallpaper video and the inability to write to video are killers.

Make them want more. Finish strong. I have seen countless videos start strong and then fizzle. You shouldn’t be thinking about how your video will end in the edit, you need to plan for it during the shoot.

There are a lot of good shooters and editors in the marketplace. But a great storyteller is almost always the key to a any great video.