A Passion for Children: A Paper Edit

This week’s lesson in IMC 634 was a bit challenging. This week we dived in to what it is like to do a paper edit. Basically a paper edit is taking (in this instance) an interview and dwindling down the script to a 30 second commercial or branding video. It is merely cutting and pasting text. You do not add words, but can take them out if necessary.

In this lesson, we had an interview from a Long Island Pediatric plastic surgeon. The interview script was 9 pages long and needed to be cut to be a 30 second branding video. The doctor wants her “Meet the Doctor” video to attract the parents of children who need “craniofacial reconstruction.” Our instructions are to edit the interview so that your speaker speaks in ordinary language, even as she reassures the audience that she’s highly qualified. In plastic surgery, it’s all about results. But it’s also important for the patient (or, in this case, the parent of the patient) to fall in love with the doctor. There’s a lot to juggle here.

Here we go.

Paper Edit

I take care of deformed children.

If I’m going to spend all of the rest of my life doing something, I want to love it and I want to love every case I do.

Cleft lip and palate is one of the most common birth defects or birth deformities that occur.

It’s extremely common in this country and the reason why people think that this only happens in Third World countries — and it’s that picture that people see on the side of a bus — is because we take care of these things very early in life. So that stigma of what the baby looks like with a cleft lip and nose is taken away very early on.

The patients that I felt most passionate about and that I felt I connected mostly with were the children.

Life is challenging enough and the majority of these children are 100 percent normal as far as their intelligence is concerned, so they just need a few operations so — but to have the stigma of having a deformity, a congenital deformity, can have an unbelievable impact on kids and how they eventually develop as young adults.

The first surgery, the cleft lip and nose surgery, is performed typically about three to four months of age. the cleft palate procedure is usually performed between nine and twelve months of age.

You develop a very intimate relationship with the patient. I meet most of my patients right after they’re born, and then I often take care of them until they’re teenagers and thereafter. So I get to know their parents even before the child is born.

If you see my office, you’ll see that the entire place is just filled with toys and it’s very children friendly. I very rarely see my patients in an exam room. I think it makes them nervous. And the majority of my exams that I have to do, I can do with them sitting on my couch in my office, and then they can play with their toys and their siblings can play with the toys while I speak to the parents about the nuts and bolts of what we have to do going forward. Because I realized that if you’re in an exam room, the children are bored or anxious and then they’re crying and they’re bothering or tugging on the parents. And then the parents can’t focus on what I’m saying, and we’re talking about important things. Their child is about to have surgery. So I found that that environment really works well with my practice. So I see the majority of my patients in my office setting. And most of the time the kids are just playing and then the siblings aren’t left out. I mean, a lot of times with kids like this– a lot of times the siblings feel left out, that that one sibling is getting a lot of attention, so we try to incorporate the siblings into the visit as well.

I think one of the most satisfying things is not only seeing the effect that I can have on the family as whole and the parents and bringing the baby out from the operating room and having the parents hug me and cry and be thankful for the change that was made. I think it’s just one of the most amazing things to transform a child’s life like that so that they’re not — that they don’t have a disadvantage in that regard and they’re not teased and that they can go to school and be full functioning and be a normal kid like they are.

I am the only plastic surgeon here on Long Island who dedicates their practice to pediatric craniofacial surgery. I never wear a white coat in the office. It scares them. They come to my office and they have a playroom to play in while I’m examining them and they don’t know I’m examining them, I think I’m small. I’m sort of their size almost. I never stand up with them. I’m always sitting down. The kids really related to me and were very relaxed around me versus a lot of my colleagues. And if it’s just virtue of the fact that I’m smaller and they think I’m one of them, it works.

I think what makes me unique perhaps or my practice unique is that I’m 100 percent dedicated to pediatric craniofacial surgery. I am the only plastic surgeon here on Long Island who dedicates their practice to pediatric craniofacial surgery.

It’s an area of plastic surgery that I feel you need to do a lot of to be very good at it. I don’t think it’s something you can dabble in. I don’t think it’s appropriate to do one cleft palate a year. I think it’s something you need to really dedicate your life to and to really make a difference and really to take the best care of kids.


Reverse Engineering

During week 5 in Digital Storytelling, we examined the process of actually scripting a commercial. During a 2-minute period, it is really hard for brands to connect with a viewer through a non-scripted commercial. Brands use a carefully worded script to engage the viewer immediately and get the information across quickly.

Today we’re going to examine two commercial by reverse engineering them and developing the script. We’re going to go back several steps. Rewind the “lights, camera, action” and just get down to the nitty-gritty pencil and paper.

He loves me, He loves me not.

For a new spot that broke on the Oscars in 2012, DDB Chicago produced a script that tells a timeless tale of young love, with a twist, and seamlessly merges product and narrative. “It’s about capturing those moments.” The new spot does this in a deceptively simple way and with a magical visual feel that, with the story, feels almost timeless.

  1. Video: (WS) of inside a McDonalds restaurant, we see two young girls (12-14) sitting at a table together, eating, talking, and laughing.
    Audio: Happy music
  2. Video: (MS) Reveals one of the young girls taking a bite out of her fries with a locked gaze straight ahead.
    Audio: Happy music
  3. Video: (WS) of young man sitting by himself at a table with his food doing homework shoots the young girl a quick glance.
    Audio: Happy music
  4. Video: Back to 2. The young girl quickly looks down, and picks up another fry (the box is almost empty of french fries), then sheepishly talks
    Audio: “He loves me”
  5. Video: (MS) of young man looking towards the young girl now
    Audio: Happy music
  6. Video: Back to 2. Again young girl looking down at the dwindling fries and continues to eat them.
    Audio: “He loves me not”
  7. Video: (CU) young girls hand reaches out and picks up a french fry and smiles
    Audio: “He loves me”
  8. Video: (WS) of empty table where the boy was sitting. He is gone. His things are gone. He is no where to be seen.
    Audio: Happy music slows
  9. Video: Back to 7. Young girl picks up her last fry and looks sad, realizing what comes next.
    Audio: “He loves me not”
  10. Video: (WS) young man enters the scene and approaches the two young girls sitting at the table.
    Audio: music intensifies
  11. Video: (MS) the young girls stare in a gazed state at the young man approaching almost looking shocked.
    Audio: music intensifies
  12. Video: (MS) the young man holds out his french fry container to reveal one last french fry.
    Audio: Happy music increases
  13. Video: (MS) the young man gestures for the young girl who has been dreamily starring at him to take the last fry.
    Audio: Happy music
  14. Video: (MS) of young girl, who looks up and smiles taking the young boys last french fry.
    Audio: Happy music
  15. Video: (MS) of young man smiling back at the girl
    Audio: Happy music
  16. Video: (MS) young man walks away as two girls giggly, look at each other in an “OMG! Did that just happen” manner.
    Audio: Happy music
  17. Video: (WS) girls hugging and laughing
    Audio: The simple joy of McDonalds

The next commercial we’re going to reverse engineer is from State Farm called “Teenagers”.

  1. Video: (WS) Young girl, 8-9 years old, hair pulled up, dressed in a nice shirt and skirt, enters room from the left side.
    Audio: “So dad, can I borrow the car?”
  2. Video: (Side Shot) Middle-aged sitting in chair, in lounge clothes, looking at vinyl record albums.
    Audio: Sighs. “Where are you going?”
  3. Video: (WS) Looking at father and 8-year old daughter in a living room
    Audio: Daughter – “Just to the movies”; Father “Who’s goin'”
  4. Video: (MS) Young daughter fidgeting
    Audio: “Kathy and Dylan and…”
  5. Video: (MS) Father looks sternly at daughter
    Audio: “Dylan?”
  6. Video: (MS) Reassuring daughter
    Audio: “Yes Dad. And Dylan”
  7. Video: (MS) Father nods head
    Audio: “Hmmm”
  8. Video: (MS) Daughter clasps hands in a prayer
    Audio: (Softly) “Pllllleeeeeaaaasssseeee.”
  9. Video: (MS) Reluctant father looks at father and looks down
    Audio: Happy music
  10. Video: (CU) Keys laying on a cushion
    Audio: Happy music
  11. Video: (CU) Daughter reaches down and grabs keys
    Audio: Happy music
  12. Video: (MS) Young girl pops back up and she is wearing the exact some thing but is a teenage girl now.
    Audio: “Thanks dad.”
  13. Video: (Angle Shot) Father looking at happy daughter
    Audio: (VO through shot 14) She’s growing up whether you like it or not. That’s why State Farm created the ‘Steer Clear’ program. Teens learn safe driving. You get lower rates. Where you are, State Farm is there.
  14. Video: (WS) Outside house looking inside, night time, daughter runs out, father gets up and looks out the window at her
  15. Video: (WS) Dad standing in living room and young boy walks in (8-9 years old)
    Audio: Dad – “Where are you going”
  16. Video: (WS) Kid grabs coat, looks at dad, slings coat over should
    Audio: “Work”

I hope by reading this post you were able to get an idea about how a script would work. By showing video and audio cues, the director is able to clearly see what you would like to happen. The actors get an idea of the mood and what they are suppose to do during each moment in the commercial.

Thanks for reading!

Creative Brief Samples

This week we’re focusing on writing creative briefs. Creative briefs are important because they give a simple, strict guidelines for each creative person on the project to follow. If a creative brief is done successfully, any one creative person on the team should be able to read it and have a clear understanding of what the brand should look like.

Each creative brief should have a set of questions and answers. Short and to the point, so that they can be clearly understood. There are a variety of ways to ask the questions but they should answer the Who, What, Where, When and How basics of the brand and how you will be advertising.

Here are two samples of creative briefs:


Morgantown Printing and Binding

Why are we advertising?
We are advertising to engage customers and to share our history and experiences with the public. Morgantown Printing and Binding has over 100 years of experience being an offset printer.

Whom are we talking to? 
Large Corporations, Small Businesses, Individual Professional Needs

What do they currently think?
Morgantown Printing and Binding does not engage with their consumers very much. They are not aware of the history behind the business.

What would we like them to think? 
Morgantown Printing and Binding has 100 years of history behind the company. This makes them the best printer to use because of all their experience. The company also cares about its customers by the engaging conversations happening via social sites and traditional advertising.

What is the single most persuasive idea?
Morgantown Printing and Binding is the best printer for me.

Why should they believe it?
Morgantown Printing and Binding exceeds customer expectations by guaranteeing a outstanding quality product.

What is the personality we should convey?
Down-to-earth & smart

Are there any sacred cows?





11D7D Healthy Vending

Why are we advertising?
To increase public knowledge of the service and products.

Whom are we talking to? 
Millennials that are concerned with healthy eating options

What do they currently think?
Currently unaware that a healthy vending machine option exists.

What would we like them to think? 
What a great idea! Healthy vending machines offer a great, healthy option for me for a meal on the run or a quick snack.

What is the single most persuasive idea?
I can count of 11D7D to provide me with great healthy options for a quick snack or meal on the run.

Why should they believe it?
11D7D provides a wide variety of healthy selections that would appeal to anyone.

What is the personality we should convey?
Happy, Healthy, Positiveness and Informative

Are there any sacred cows?


With these creative briefs, any one of the members on the creative teams should be able to take it and do the jobs they need in the right tone and design for the brand.

The Brief Is A Starting Point, Not The Answer

This notion cuts to the heart of the brief’s purpose, which is to inspire a great idea out of the creative team. That resulting creative idea is “the answer.” So it’s important that we do not ask the brief to be more than what it is. The “single most important thought” (or some such similar phrasing found in most briefs), does not need to be headline quality. It merely needs to be smart, it needs to be the culmination of the rest of the brief, and it needs to be singular. The creative teams will then tell us how to say it, or be it, or whatever. But the brief is a means to an end, not an end.

Pitch Perfect

In this week’s lesson in Digital Storytelling we are to create a pitch. Like Don Draper in “Mad Men,” make a pitch.

Present a creative approach to a client. Imagine the first process that takes place. This amazing idea you have in your head. Your vision. Translate that into words and pitch the commercial to the client.

Guinness Empty Chair Pitch

We are thrown in to the middle of an intense basketball game. Sweat pouring, adrenaline rushing, wheels screeching. Yes, wheels. All the men are in wheelchairs. They push, pull, shoot, miss, one falls over in his wheelchair. He pushes himself back up effortlessly. The game ends. The men stand up and walk out. All the men except one. One stays in the wheelchair. We realize they were doing this because of him, to support him. At the end we see all the guys at a bar drinking Guinness. Guinness is loyal like a friend.


Dodge Ram 100 Years Pitch

Documentary style, we are introduced to several 100 year old people. They give insight on what they have learned in their 100 years, the secrets to life. Then things start to change, the old people start getting more aggressive, “Don’t Bitch”, a kind of “F-it” attitude. An old man is in a Challenger squealing the tires, burning rubber. The interviews continue. A man says “And never forget where you came from.” The Challenger zooms off the screen. “You learn a lot in 100 years.” Runs across the screen.

Exploring non-literal commercials.

There are commercials that present their product front and center, see Doritios Ad and then there are the commercials that don’t show a product at all, see Las Vegas Ad. Commercials that do not show a product, at least not front and center saying “Here! Buy This!”, are called non-literal commercials.

This post will explore three commercials that are non-literal. They are more like mini-movies with a glimpse of the product at best. During the exploration, the brand will need to be boiled down to a 3 word expression of what the brand stands for in a positioning statement. For example, Las Vegas, “Adult Playground.”

The first commercial that we’re going to explore, is a heart-warming one from Dodge Ram. Pay attention to the lighting techniques used on this one, it is incredible! The use of sepia tones and grainy black and white photos really set the tone for this commercial.

Dodge Ram Commercial

The Ram commercial begins with a bleak photograph of a single cow in front of a snowy field, and Harvey’s voice says, “And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, I need a caretaker. So God made a farmer.”


The ad depicts farmers as hardworking, devout, sensitive people who are loyal to family and their community. The two-minute ad features the voice of the late radio broadcaster, Paul Harvey speaking over dozens of documentary-style photos showing the hard work and challenges facing farmers and ranchers each day.


“And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, ‘I need a caretaker.’ So God made a farmer,” Harvey said as the ad began.


“God said, ‘I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the field, milk cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.’ So God made a farmer.”

The last shot of the commercial is a simple image of a Dodge Ram Truck sitting in front of a barn.

Brand Strategy
Dodge Ram wanted to honor hardworking farmers who use trucks on their farms.

Positioning Statement
Hardworking Like You

The next commercial is from Bridgestone Tires.

Bridgestone Tire Commercial

We are taken on a hysterical ride with a male driver and his female passenger. As they’re driving down the road, a squirrel happily sees an acorn fall in to the middle of the road. The squirrel runs out to feast on his new treasure and then hears a car.


The squirrel looks up and hilariously starts screaming like a human would.


Then random other forest animals start screaming, bunny, owls, turtles, etc… and the female passenger all scream out in fear.


The driver, who is confident and completely calm, easily swerves around the frightened squirrel. He honks his horn and goes along on his way.

Closing the commercial we hear, For driver’s who want to get the most out of their cars, it’s Bridgestone or nothing. 

Brand Strategy
To show Bridgestone tires are safe in a hilarious way.

Positioning Statement
Safe with Bridgestone.

For our last commercial, we will explore Tide’s way of showing how good they can remove a stain.

Tide Stain Commercial

In this commercial we see two men watching a ‘49ers game together on TV. One of the guys spills salsa on his shirt, and it falls in the shape of Joe Montana (a Hall of Fame past ‘49ers quarterback).


He dubs this a “miracle stain”. The “miracle stain” goes viral, and the average guy enjoys the fame (MontanaLand!) that goes along with his “miracle stain”.

The video ends with the average guy’s wife washing the shirt and removing the stain. We then see the wife whisper, “Go Ravens!”.


Tide puts a message at the end saying, “No Stain is Sacred”.

Brand Strategy
Show that tide will remove really bad stains in a comedic way.

Positioning Statement
Tide Removes Stains

In closing, I really didn’t imagine watching commercials was going to be so much fun. The three I selected really stood out to me as being great storytellers. Whether they were shown in a documentary-style (like the Dodge Ram commercial) or in a comedic way, they all held my attention for the entire time. I was thoroughly entertained!