Suck them in: How to start off teases.

How often have you watched a newscast and the teases at the end of a block made you have to watch a little longer?  Be honest.  Chances are you really have to rack your brain to remember a time and a tease.  The reason:  Most teases are horribly written.  They immediately start out on a two shot, with the anchors saying “coming up” or “next on.” Let’s not mince words, that’s an instant fail and a viewer turn off.  Viewers will not stick around.  The viewer thinks, “Cue commercial! Let’s see what the other channel has.” or just turns off the TV altogether.

So how do you suck them in?  First of all, get rid of two shots at the top of teases.  You can use a two shot other places, like the story before the tease.  Next, ban the terms “coming up” and “next on.”  You can time reference other ways, and later in the tease.  Instead, think of why you picked the story to tease in the first place.  Is the video jaw dropping?  Is the nat sound awesome?  Is there a surprising twist to the story?  Start there.  Hammer the sell, head on, right away.

Now take some of the compelling video and show it off right away.  Think, VO off the top or NATS VO,  right away.  Play the image twice if it is quick.  Showcase, showcase, showcase!  Just don’t explain every bit of what the viewer sees.  Let’s say a plane makes an incredible emergency landing and you have video of it happening.  You can show the landing, and tease an interesting element, like “What the pilot almost hit going down.” or “Why he/she had to land.” I recently saw a tease about a tattoo parlor.  The producer wove nats of the tattoo needle buzzing throughout.  The needle sound was up full at the start, then lower while the anchor read, and finally up full again at the end.  That alone sucked me in.  The sound is captivating and makes you more excited to see the story.

What if the story is interesting, but you don’t have any good sound or video?  Again, avoid the two shot and play on the human element right away.  If the story is about a family’s brave battle with an illness, show the family and hit on how “Their story may make you want to hug your own children.”  Show a close up of a child doing an amazing thing and say, “You are about to meet Sally, and she is going to teach you a thing or two.”

Now let’s address why so many teases start off with “coming up” or “next on.”  You do need to time reference that the story will appear later, just don’t do it off the top of the tease.  If you work in a shop with graphics that say coming up, either pop them in after the tease is underway, or don’t reference the animation with your copy.  You have to impress the viewer right away.  That is more important than referencing an animation.

A final thought:  Treat the start of your teases the way you would the beginning of an actual story.  Do not put “giveaways” that a tease is coming, like two shots or use old, cliché, phrases.  That alone will help you suck viewers in.