Writing for Kids

Session Notes squareSchools everywhere are about to set the kids free for summer. What better time to write commercial copy that includes kids? But how do you best write for the pre-pubescent set? We have several tips.

No Adult Talk

First, when writing for a kid, avoid stuffing their mouths with adult phrases. No kid would say “First Bank’s Home Equity Line of Credit lets you use the equity in your home to make home improvements, and gives you a big tax break.” Nope. When you make the mistake of putting adult words in kids’ mouths, you destroy the one thing that makes kid spots work so well: natural innocence.

Kids speak in short, simple sentences. They ask innocent questions. They should never handle the heavy lifting of mandatory copy points. Deal with that in an announce graph.

Leave Room for Surprises

Sometimes when talking to kids, hilarious things will fall out of their mouths. Keep your scripting loose enough to allow the use of those moments. When timing your kid script, aim to make it 10-20% shorter than the target length. The younger the child, the shorter it should be. Write :25 or :50 worth of copy. Then, be prepared to weave in ad-libs as they become available. These are the moments that will make your work memorable.

Don’t Try to Direct

Kids are easily intimidated by adults, and when they’re intimidated, they clam up. Over the years, we’ve developed a foolproof method of directing kids. One key part of that method is that we talk to you before recording the kid’s lines to find out what you want. Then, we sit on the floor and direct the kids face-to-face. When we have something great, we’ll call you back with it. If you need any fixes, let us know and we’ll handle them. The kids don’t leave until you’re happy.

We’ve found that this method elicits the best work from kids with the lowest level of nervousness or intimidation. It sets them free to be themselves. And when kids are free to be themselves, some wonderful things can happen.

Soundscapes has specialized in kid spots for many years, and we’ve developed a big bag of tricks to make your kid spots sound great. Call us for script collaboration, and we’ll create some award-winning kid spots for your clients.