Your client’s giving a major speech. What would be in the trailer?

From You’re Going to Want to Watch This Speech | The White House:

I just finished reading the draft of a speech the President plans to deliver on Wednesday, and I want to explain why it’s one worth checking out.

[…] It’s a vision he carried through his first campaign in 2008, it’s a vision he carried through speeches like the one he gave at Georgetown University shortly after taking office that imagined a new foundation for our economy and one in Osawatomie, Kansas on economic inequality in 2011 — and it’s a vision he carried through his last campaign in 2012.Watch that history here and see why this moment is so important.

This marks a first, at least for me: a presidential speech that has an actual trailer. (If you’ve seen anything similar, do share!)

But it’s a logical way to create some buzz, assemble an online audience and place the speech in the context of a broader narrative. I don’t imagine this is the last trailer we’ll see for a major speech.

And even if it never sees the light of day, imagining a trailer for your client’s next big speech isn’t a bad way to focus yourself.

In fact, go all-out, and imagine the blockbuster version. You’ll deal with a lot of the same questions a movie studio has to when they market a film: What is your audience expecting? What will move them? What will bring the sharp intakes of breath? And what will that one scene be that everyone talks about in the lineup to get into your movie?


Why Jon Favreau looked so tired the morning of Sept. 10, 2009

President Obama reviews a speech with Jon Favreau

President Barack Obama and Jon Favreau, head speechwriter, edit a speech on health care in the Oval Office, Sept. 9, 2009, in preparation for the president’s address to a joint session of Congress. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza – via Flickr)

Presidential communications are seamless, hermetic; they betray no sign they were ever anything other than fully polished.


But now and then, we get a glimpse like this, and we get a hint of the furious activity going on just below the surface: the endless cycles of revision and comment that ultimately turn out the glowing words scrolling up a teleprompter screen. In this case, it looks like a long night is in the cards for Jon Favreau.

Maybe it won’t be that bad. There have been times when I would have killed to have a client whose handwriting was as meticulous as Obama’s looks in this photo. If his directions are as clear as his penmanship, Mr. Favreau’s an even luckier man than I’d thought.

For everyone who wants Obama to be more animated…

Why Obama Now on YouTube.

Now, this represents a lot of work — not just the raw animation and graphics work, but the tremendous visual imagination driving them.

But it’s a superb example of how you can reach far more people with your speech than the audience alone. Creating a digital artifact — whether it’s an image and text adapted from your key point, a brief clip from your speech with annotations, an infographic, an enhanced slide deck or any of a thousand other possibilities — frees your message to be shared beyond the room.

And if you have one of the world’s leading TV animators in your corner, why, that doesn’t hurt at all.