Rasmussen College – Web Content
Concept Dev | Copywriting | Voicework
Rasmussen requested a piece of video content that could be posted/promoted on its Nursing blog for Halloween. To do so, we chopped our source material down to its bare essentials, aiming for a pre-determined 3-4 minute "sweet spot" with our script.
Still, we wanted our execution to maximize engagement. So, we opted for a vaudevillian, house-of-horrors concept which also served to make the brutal subject material a tad more palatable. Pushing the VO into a rhyming meter also made the narration bounce along more musically.
Post-Halloween, the History of Surgery had generated enough engagement and shares for the client to feel it was well worth the investment. But this ambitious piece of content went on to win Gold in the 2017 EduAd Awards.
Process / Notes
First off, no longer do I so completely dread my inevitable first prostate exam. Not going to be fun, sure. But historically, the need for surgery barely eclipsed what had to be endured to benefit from it. For instance, look at this picture. It "says" this tapestry purports to document an old form of eye surgery. But I just see some poor dude getting a stick jammed in his eye before he could even sit down.
But here was the fun challenge. As we worked the original article down into a script, how could we make it both informative and entertaining and relevant to current or potential nursing students?
Since this was "history" we were talking about, it felt wise to draft off of something that would feel storied, but not dated.
Some research into horror classic from the silent film era and vaudeville led us to the concept unfolding in front of the viewer as staged vignettes from the turn of the century.
In doing so, we could focus on illustrating and animating key scenes for each beat in the history, dropping in and "popping up" visual elements as we progressed through it.
Animation and Illustration
The result gave the piece a unique look and also took some of the edge off of scenes detailing teeth being yanked from heads and new faces being sewn to arms (the more you know!).
Since the piece was going to be on the longer side for content, I wanted to ensure the writing and voice performance were also doing their part to keep the viewer engaged.
In addition to applying a groovy rhythmic meter to the copy, I felt like the vocal performance had to match. I envisioned approaching the read like the late Vincent Price would, delivering a fun, slithery performance that seemed to be "aware" of the macabre material being covered.
And doing an accent seemed like SUCH A GOOD IDEA GUYS when I only had to demo it for about 20 seconds at a time.
Oh, but this is how we learn, isn't it? In VO 101 it's probably made abundantly clear that maintaining an accent through the starts and stops of a 2-3 hour recording session is hard.
Sweat was swatted. But thanks to André Bergeron at Babble-On Studios, we made it work.