“Can you break physics and make this commercial read to time, please? Thanks!”



Conversation with producer mate about overwritten script, yesterday.
Me: This is never gonna fit into 30 seconds
Him: Maybe if we make the font smaller?
Me: I could voice it in a really tiny voice?
Him: Let’s do that. HAAAAA.

It’s ridiculous, right?

But trust me, this happens every working day. Scripts that are waaaay too long to fit into the slot they HAVE to fit into. That could be 10″, 20″, 30″ etc. (By the way, the ” symbol denotes seconds, not inches…as one confused customer once assumed). Our clients think we can bend space and time to make it work. And sales execs tell us we have to, or the Advertising Pixies will come and stuff infomercials up our noses while we sleep.

The result of over-written scripts?

Ads that aren’t quite as good as they could be. (I actually typed ‘rubbish ads’ then deleted it – that’s too harsh). My prod colleagues are VERY GOOD at making things fit. Thanks to digital technology, they can compress sound waves without making the voiceover sound like Mickey Mouse. But truly, it’d be better for everyone (clients, producers, sales folk, voiceovers and God love ’em the listeners too) if scripts were properly timed.

Copywriters, I’m begging you here. Use a stop-watch. And read out loud. You’ll get a much better commercial at the end of it.

And I hate to break it to you, smaller fonts won’t help.



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Emma Clarke

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