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After The Shoot - A Blog About Story Driven Video Production

Use The Movie Formula to Make A Great Testimonial Video

Posted by Jeff Brandt on Aug 5, 2013 1:57:00 PM

Everyone loves a good movie.  The funny thing about good movies is they all basically follow the same story structure. When someone first told me this, I didn’t believe them but then I started watching movies with the structure in mind, and sure enough they all kind of set up the same way. As viewers, we subconsciously love this model so it’s something to consider when we are trying to communicate any kind of messages.

A lot of the nonprofit fundraising videos that I produce are created through first hand testimonials. They reveal a person's experience with a service, product or program. When I approach these videos, I try my best to fit them into that classic story structure.  I am going to explain the model and then show you how I made it work for the video above.  

The story model consists of three acts or parts.

testimonial video

Act 1 

Commonly referred to as “The Set-Up.” This is where we are introduced to the characters and the world they live in.  The goal here is to create interest and attachment to the characters.

Act 2

Referred to as “The Confrontation.” The word confrontation can sound harsh but what it really means is that something happens that sets the characters in motion on a journey or process that results in a dramatic shift or change.

Act 3

“The Resolution.” This is where we see the characters after the shift or change has occurred. What new opportunities do they have? What is available to them that wasn’t available before?

Adapting this structure to a testimonial video.

testimonial video

Act 1 - who are your clients/customers and what sort of challenges are they facing.

Act 2 - how does your product or service help your clients/customer address their challenges.

Act 3 - what kind of impact does your product or service have on your clients/customers moving forward. What other opportunities does it open up for them? The point is to go beyond face value. For example, if you have a product or service that saves times, what does that extra time mean to your customers.

Here’s how I specifically applied this model.   

testimonial video

Act 1 - The clients are kids who come from a really tough neighborhood in Chicago. Many of them don’t make it out.  

Act 2 - The retreat offers them a chance to get away from that world. It gives them a way to broaden their horizons. It challenges them to come together and develop themselves personally.   

Act 3 - The retreat isn’t just about the week they spend at Dunrovin. The lessons they learn and the experiences they have transform how they respond to their neighborhood when they go back.  It gives them hope. It gives them tools to be successful.  

Can you think of how this model might work for your product or service?  

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