How to plan an emergency preparedness video for a university
Most people don’t think about the fine balance between making a point and entertaining people. Mark Robertson, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL), obsesses about it. He created a videos series for UNL Police on emergency preparedness. When preparing a lecture for Designing Health Campaigns Using Social Media at Tufts University, I looked on YouTube for examples of emergency preparedness videos from universities and started watching his. The animations are short, funny, and have a clear message.
Rather impressively, Mark creates the animations himself using GoAnimate in about an hour. He does the voice himself generally – which is why he sounded familiar when we spoke by phone. I asked him for advice for my students, and then realized this might be of broader interest.
Mark’s advice for planning emergency preparedness videos:
- Know what is the one message you want to get across.
- Humor is popular but it is dangerous too. If you are using humor, be certain that no one will take offense. Do not poke fun at students, faculty, or staff.
- Make your point and find a balance between making your point and entertaining people.
- Use sample audiences before publishing to make sure you aren’t hitting the wrong nerve and your point comes across.
- It is a challenge to get people’s attention for too long. Start out and pique people’s interest, and keep the video short.
- Even how you promote a video is important. Say something that piques their interest to get them to watch.
- Finally, be careful about your central characters because, if well-received, you will be stuck with them and may regret some of their eccentricities.
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