Friday, September 04, 2009


I was going to do a post today on my day job--I realized I've never really talked about being a technical/scientific editor, and there may be a few interested in what that's like.

But it's Friday before a long weekend, and I'm full of donuts. I'm cheerful and kinda loopy. This calls for something more FUN, don't you think?

So I'm going to talk about airplane safety videos.

WAIT! Don't go away! I know, we've all seen safety videos or heard the spiel a zillion times. My 7 year old could probably recite it by heart. Passengers have long since stopped paying attention.

But this presents a serious problem for airlines. They need people to listen to those instructions--on the off-chance something does go horribly wrong on the flight, they actually are necessary.

So how do they get and keep your attention? How do they take an old, tired story and twist it?

Watch this. I'm serious--it's only a little over 3 minutes. Watch the whole thing.

Did you catch the twist? Yes, ALL OF THOSE CREW MEMBERS ARE NUDE. Seriously. The whole time--it's all clever camera angles and body paint.

How awesomely creative is that? It's not crass--there's nothing you can actually see there--but it's CLEVER. It's also done with humor and grace, and I for one paid attention the whole way. :)

Lesson from this? Be *that* creative with your own stories. Maybe you're telling about vampires or lonely teens or a detective on a murder case--scenarios that have been done so many times the very thought is cliche. But you still see a story there.

Find a new way to do it. Dig deep. Twist the heck out of it, until it's new and fresh and funny and YOURS. Make readers pay attention through it all, and end saying "Wow, that was original."

If they can do it with a safety video, you can too.

And if you liked the video? There are more here:


Linda G. said...

Now, see, something like this might make me reconsider how I feel about flying. ;)

pseudosu said...

Good tip Susan. Finding that unique angle or spin is the key.

courtney said...

Aaah! That is fantastic. The video AND this entry.

nova said...


And great way to make your point. I'm listening :)

Susan Adrian said...

Linda: Yes. I'd totally fly with these people. :)

Sue: absolutely!!

Courtney and Nova: *grin* If they can do it with a safety video of all things (and I've watched it more than once, now!) we can do it with fiction.