A Story in 15 Seconds

I was in LA in late March with my HTV kids.  We hit Hollywood Boulevard one afternoon, and I was growing impatient with three stragglers who had not made their way back to our vans.  That's when I saw Cheyanne, Katelynn and Zayne preparing to cross the street to make their way to where I was waiting, and for some reason I shot video with my iPhone of them approaching me.

Later, when I watched the footage, a light went on.  In those 15 seconds, I had a story, complete with a beginning, middle and end, the very things we preach and teach at the ASB workshops all the time.

Watch the clip once, then read on.


As the threesome walks toward the camera, we have a foreground object (guy in brown shirt) adding depth to the shot.  Both girls are carrying packages, but Zayne has what appears to be a large trash bag wrapped around something flat.

There is natural sound of music playing from one of the nearby shops, adding atmosphere.  The girls are smiling broadly, leading you to believe they are amused by something, but we don't know what.  But their faces add to the tone of the piece.

As the middle part of the story begins, you see a tighter shot of the girls, and you hear me saying, "Last again!"  This adds tension.  Are they in trouble?  (I say it again in the background as the girls speak)

Katelyn then says, "Ask Zayne what he bought."  Now we have a plot-twist.  It's not about them being late--it's about something Zayne purchased.  Cheyanne also directs me to "ask Zayne what he bought" as the camera finds her.  She also points her finger toward Zayne, building viewer expectations that something interesting or surprising is about to be revealed.

The suspense builds as we hear Zayne rustling the plastic bag (more nat. sound) as he takes out his purchase.  With about four seconds to go, Katelyn tells us it's a "life-size figure of Emma Watson," and then we have the pay-off at the end, as we actually get to see Emma as she emerges from the bag.

In 15 seconds a story was told.  There was a set-up, added tension, and a final visual that brought it all home.  In other words, a beginning, middle and end.