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Hook

Why a film should not start with a title

There is an old television rule that says: the most interesting things should come at the beginning. A viewers finger is always on the button of the remote control; so as soon as he is bored-bang! your show is no longer on his TV.

Its the same with films. Viewers tend to get distracted; it is very easy to lose them.

Why do you need to start with a title? What does it tell you? Nothing. Do you think your viewer, while putting on a disc with your logo or attending your event, expects to see a new Guy Ritchie film? No. He knows what he is about to see. And it is highly probable he is ready to start yawning.

Thus, the beginning of the film has to surprise him in a positive way. It should be amusing, catchy and interesting.

Examples:

The MosTransGaz film starts with a paradox: we know that cold comes from the North but heat comes from the North too. How come?

The SevZapTrubProvodStroi film (about a company which builds underground pipeline connections) starts with a fisherman who is dozing in his boat, unaware that ten yards beneath him, gas compressed to 50 atmospheres is roaring in a pipe. (The camera dives underwater, scaring fish away, and flies inside the pipe.)

The Micex film start by comparing exchanges which existed in various periods of time: from shouts and emotions from the previous century to a cold Micex server room where there are no people at all.

RosTelecoms IP VPN promo starts with a scene from an old movie, where a boy stands at a steering column and pulls strings to gather his friends. A narrators voice says, "See? This is what the corporate network of Timur and his team looked like. Cheap and effective".

The Vimetco film starts with a story about building the most sophisticated aluminum plant in China in a very short time.

There are two ways to have a good beginning.

  1. A change of context: an unexpected and often contradictory shift, which the subject of the film helps resolve. Cold from the North and heat from the North-what does it mean? Its very simple: gas is heat, and it comes from the North. But cold comes by itself, whereas gas needs to be transported. This is what MosTransGaz does.
  2. The beginning may announce the most interesting and important fact of the film. For instance, that Micex from within is primarily about security and technology, not about excitement and emotions.

All our films start either from an amusing or an informative "hook". The title follows as a wrap, unfolding the main contents-after the viewers interest has been won.

Andrey Skvortsov
CEO, Mercator group


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