This post is the first in a series designed to relate the big ideas behind conceiving and producing amazing explainer videos.
For now, let's forget about video. I want to talk about explanation. You’ve probably explained something recently: Why you prefer a dish or why political event matters. We are all explainers. We create understanding as a normal part of our daily communication. So much so, that we never think about it.
It's like design. If you've ever made a campfire or a paper airplane, you've designed something, but it probably never seemed like design to you. It just happened without much thought.
The thing about design though, is that some people have become really good at it - they are professionals. What is a task to some is an artform to others. Designers are the people whose focus and attention have produced some of the world's most popular products. Apple's success is a perfect example of great design at work. We are all designers, but some of us have become so good that it has become a profession.
Just as the design world has designers, the world of communication has explainers. Explainers don't simply explain ideas, they bring focus and attention to making an idea easy to understand. Their communication is intentional and goal oriented. For them, communication is the art.
Today, explainers have amazing opportunities. Not only is the world growing more complex, but new tools are transforming how we think about making and sharing explanations. What starts in the written word can now be transformed into media. A trend that’s emerging in a big way is explainer videos.
Often, these are short, animated videos with a specific goal: understanding. They use clear and concise language along with entertaining and useful visuals. The video format can serve as a near-perfect package for presenting ideas, products and services in a form that not only explains, but attracts attention.
For example, Google recently introduced a project called Loon that uses balloons to offer internet access to underserved areas. The project home page features a remarkable explainer video for the project. http://www.google.com/loon/.
As you can see, it’s focused on understanding and answers the question: Why would I care about Loon?
With a bit of practice and focus on writing easy-to-understand voice-over scripts, anyone can be not only an explainer, but a media pro. Next we'll cover writing a script for your video.