Great Writing—More than just Words

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Words matter. And when writing a TV or Radio script, the vast majority of copywriters concentrate on words alone. But your final production will contain much more than just words. Those elements—Sound Effects & Music—should be strongly considered before the words begin to hit the screen.

When you consider SFX and Music in the conceptual phase, it will have a strong effect on how you write. It opens new doors to creativity. It’s like storyboarding for the ear. This is especially true when you’re writing for Radio, because great Radio triggers the imagination.

Having SFX and Music figured out in the beginning will also have an effect on how your talent performs. For example, actors will deliver your copy one way if they know that they’re in a small coffee shop, and quite another way if they’re walking and talking on the street.

By the same token, if a single-voice announcer knows in the beginning the pacing and energy of the music she’ll be reading against, it will shape her delivery.

Simply stated, SFX and Music should never be an afterthought. But what happens when you actively make these elements a forethought? Great things, that’s what.

For example, when you write a Radio spot centering around a berserk hamster on the loose, wrecking everything in sight, then the SFX become as much a character in the spot as any human being or even the copy.

Or perhaps your ears perk up at gardening advice. Here’s a spot that was written around SFX that move the story forward and give it great mental images.

Interesting note: That spot was so effective in creating mental images that a local woman tried to start a public boycott of the garden center because of their cruelty to cows. It was that real to her. Or maybe she was drunk—who can say?

It boils down to this: The non-voice elements in your advertising can be the strongest things about a spot. But only if you include SFX and music ideas in the conceptual phase of any writing.

We help people come up with great ideas every day. Next time you sit down to write, give us a quick call and we’ll help you weave SFX into your writing. That way, your listeners will see your spot and not just hear it.