Some relevant insights from the filmmakers and creatives who participated in YouTube’s challenge to create a six-second video story at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. YouTube started offering advertiser the six-second format, named bumper ads, in 2016. .
Make It Relatable So Your Audience’s Imagination Can Fill In the Blanks
“Like with all storytelling, I wanted to start with something relatable. That’s always important, but here, especially so. There’s no time with six seconds, so when your audience can relate, they’ll project their own experience into the piece—filling in the blanks and giving you freedom to move more quickly through your narrative.”
—Alexander Engel, Filmmaker
‘Think of your story like a joke’
“The biggest surprise was honestly the fact that six seconds really is enough time to get a big message across. When I was writing, it was hard to keep the narrative small enough when I was thinking in words, but once I divided the time into images, it felt like there really was enough time to say something bigger.
Think of your story like a joke. Distill it down to the punchline and then figure out how to build that with whatever tools you have at your disposal.”
—Maud Deitch, Creative, Mother NY
Pinpoint the Exact Moment that Everything Changes
“Restrictions are important to creativity. Hurdles give us direction on where to go and what to jump over.
The core of every good story is change—a square becomes a circle; a character learns about herself; a landscape shifts. Six seconds is a limited time frame to show that transformation, so I knew I had to pinpoint the exact moment that everything changes.”
—Tony Xie, Associate Broadcast Producer, Droga5