It is tradition that before the keynote speaker gives their speech, they are introduced. Their qualifications and some personal history are given for those in the audience who may not know, and to add validity to what the speaker might be talking about. Some movies also start out with an introduction narrated by someone who’s character likely has a personal interest in the story being told. What makes a great introduction? The things I’ve found are who’s narrating, content, and timing.
Imagine Goodfellas if it were Elmo saying “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster”. Or if Lisa Simpson were to introduce Conan “Between the times when the oceans drank Atlantis…”. The power of what’s being said would be lost. Of course if you didn’t care about Atlantis, or gangsters it would all be lost as well. Mako was a perfect choice in Conan, as was Pesci in Goodfellas. The writers and directors were able to use that voice that fit so well to make something memorable. What if there were a situation where the writers needed to write a narration and only had to chose between Elmo and Lisa Simpson?
Let’s for the moment assume you and I and 7000 of our closest friends were in the same place at the same time looking forward to doing or seeing the same thing. It could easily be assumed that we would have the content part covered.
Now that we know who we have to choose from and the content is good, how do you write an intro that’s good for Lisa or Elmo? One thing I’ve noticed from some of my favorite movies and TV shows that have narration introductions is they all have the same tempo. The opening is not only catchy, but it has typically between 12 and 18 syllables. “I wanna tell you about the time I almost died…”, “It began with the forging of the Great Rings.”, “I was born 400 years ago in the highlands of Scotland”, “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away”. Ok the last one was never said, but it was in my head about a million times. Tempo has to be structured. How do you produce the most impact without running on and on? How do you get to the point and make it memorable between 12 and 18 syllables? To boost up an audience is a challenge.
What’s the purpose of this? Stay tuned…