Script Writing !for Mobile: !A Hands-On Workshop !& Crit RoomStephanie Pau, The Museum ofModern ArtErica Gangsei, San Fran...
Hello.Stephanie PauAssociate Educator, Interpretation &ResearchMoMA, New YorkErica GangseiManager of Interpretive MediaSFM...
Why are you thinking of taking content-production in-house?a.  I think I can save $ over an existing solutionb.  I have no...
Let’s Warm Up!
Part I:!Tips for Scripting
Before You Begin…•  CONSIDER CONTEXT & SETTING o  Is audio or mobile the appropriate medium in this instance? o  Is the ex...
Before You Begin…•  CHOOSE A MIX OF OBJECTS  o  Baffling objects that require interpretationo  Sticky objects that visitors...
Step 1•  Content AuditStep 2•  Interviews(Actualities)Step 3•  ReviewAudio &TranscriptsStep 4•  ScriptingStep 5•  ScriptRe...
•  Take stock of what other interpretive resources will be provided•  Dig into your institutional archiveso  What media do...
o  Research external catalogueso  Sound Archiveso  Library of Congress Recorded Sound Reference Centero  California Librar...
Step 2: Interviews (Actualities)Choose your subject(s) wiselyo  Will you interview experts, artists, writers, community me...
Step 2: Interviews (Actualities)o  Do your homework beforehand, but don’t act like you already know theanswerso  Don’t cra...
Step 2: Interviews (Actualities)•  Transcribe with Timecode •  A time code is a time stamp inserted periodically in a tran...
Step 3: Review Audio &Transcripts•  Listen to check the audio quality•  Use quotes for emphasis, flow and drama; not just f...
Step 4: ScriptingThe Basics Building BlocksNarratorThe voice that frames the storyActualityThe subject or interviewee; uns...
Classic "NPR" (American radio doc formula)Narrator                        _____          ______     (20%)Actuality        ...
...But what other approaches are possible?Narrator                                                              (__%)Actua...
Does ambient sound = background?In only 1-2 seconds, ambient sound can:•  Wordlessly evoke a mood. •  Situate or transport...
Writing for the Ear•  Script as you would normallyspeako  No parenthetical clauseso  One thought per sentence;one breath p...
Writing into Actualities•  Create the illusion of a natural dialogue between narratorand interview clip•  The interviewee ...
Beware Moon Rocks !•  "Moon Rocks”"Alien" visitors from another script or story•  Consider moving non-essential informatio...
Length Alert!Shoot for 1-1.5 minutes; 2 minutes max200 words = 90 seconds recordedBeware “Museum fatigue” 
Length Alert!•  Limit your script to "just in time"information Whats most relevant tounderstand here and now?•  Move non-e...
DO DON TBegin with what can be seen, and keepbringing the eye back to the work;encourage close lookingUndermine the act of...
Step 5: Script Review•  Have a colleague read it aloud as you listen without benefit of thescript•  Time your "walkthrough"...
Step 6: Audio Review &Evaluation•  Review audio on the same headphones or equipment as yourvisitors•  Listen on an open da...
Part II:!Group Crit
Let’s Give!Constructive !Feedback.
Clark Art Institute!Williamstown, MA, USACase study: Artwork-specific audio guide stopsAverage running time: 2.5-3 minutes ...
#435. A Street in Venice, c. 1880-82John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925)Oil on canvas
#567. Cloud Study, c. 1821-22John Constable (English, 1776-1837)Oil on cream laid paper, mounted on canvas#435.
Part III:!Your Turn! !Hands-On Scriptwriting!
Hands-On ScriptwritingSTEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR INTERVIEW SUBJECTo  Divide into teams of twoSTEP 2: CONDUCT A 1-3 MINUTE INTERVI...
• AUDIENCE: What kind of visitor will be listening to your content? • SETTING: What other gallery resources will be provid...
 • WHAT’S WORKING?o  Is the script an appropriate length?o  Is it written for the ear?o  Are there Moon Rocks?• HOW WAS TH...
QUESTIONS?
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Script Writing for In-Gallery Mobile Interpretation: A Participatory Workshop and Crit Room

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Slides from workshops presented at workshops presented at Museums & Mobile III (Online) and later revised for a half-day workshop at Museums & The Web 2013 in Portland. Co-presented by Stephanie Pau (MoMA) and Erica Gangsei (SFMOMA).

Workshop Description:
Your latest audio or mobile app is nothing without great content. In this hands-on workshop, designed for museum staff by museum staff, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss the qualities of effective in-gallery mobile content and to learn the process for developing it. Half workshop and half crit room, this session will begin with practical advice for writing audio, video, or multimedia scripts, as well as suggestions for producing such content in-house. We’ll put these principles to practice in the second part of this session -- a supportive “Crit Room” where participants may volunteer to have their script drafts critiqued in a live “surgery” environment. Throughout this intensive half-day workshop, we’ll consider as a group the qualities that make for a great in-gallery mobile experience.

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  • Stephanie- Began writing for MSoMA as an intern in 2001, and was on the IET team that produced SFMOMA's first in-housed audio guide, (which we called a "gallery exploration because it was a long-form audio) in 2005, for the Richard Tuttle show. Also was first writer and producer for the ongoing SFMOMA Artcasts podcast series. Now working at MoMA and working with Digital Media a new in-house produced app for the entire museum. Erica- First big in-gallery media project was in collaboration with Stephanie in 2008 - 28 stops and over 2 hours of content Writers and co-producers of Making Sense of Modern Art Mobile, SFMOMA's first major in-house content development push, in 2009.  MSOMA Mobile was first published with over 5 1/2 hours of content covering every floor of SFMOMA and has had almost complete coverage of the museum since its launch.
  • Erica
  • Erica
  • Stephanie - If a show is already very media heavy, do you really think adding another layer of media will be helpful? Audio is not a fix it all.  -Some redundancy is OK because there are different types of learners. But don't just parrot information available in other forms -Spread your content out evenly throughout the galleries. This is where an exhibit model or a talk with the curator would be helpful  
  • Stephanie How are you selecting what to interpret? Some criteria: Spread your content out evenly throughout the galleries. This is where an exhibit model or a talk with the curator would be helpful   Consider attention span and “ museum legs"
  • Stephanie
  • Erica
  • Erica
  • Erica Image: Hong-Kai Wang. Still from Music While We Work. 2011. Multichannel sound and two-channel video installation
  • Erica The image is of Ludwig Koch, a pioneer of wildlife sound recording.
  • Erica
  • Stephanie Audio quality: If its poor but still legible, you might still be able to use it. For example, many Archives of American Art reel to reels that were recorded for the transcript, not audio quality-- you can preface the poor quality by scripting "Here's XXX from a 1965 interview, recorded in her downtown Manhattan studio...."
  • Stephanie
  • Stephanie
  • Stephanie Play Radiolab clip from "Memory" episode (Stephanie has edited this in Garageband) Play audio stop for “San Francisco Views: 1935 to Now” (note this is an anomoly as far as length)
  • Stephanie
  • Stephanie Break down complex or unfamiliar topics or concepts into simple language.  Define jargon either directly or through context.   Sample: Listen to NPR and see that "writing into" an actuality is a standard of radio reporting and documentary.
  • Erica Break down complex or unfamiliar topics or concepts into simple language.  Define jargon either directly or through context.   Sample: Listen to NPR and see that "writing into" an actuality is a standard of radio reporting and documentary.
  • Erica
  • Stephanie The image is from “Museum Ideals of Purpose and Method,” by Benjamin Ives Gilman of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1918), a pioneer of visitor studies who was the first to describe the phenomenon and coined the term. "Museum fatigue" - Remember that this is just one object of many that they will plan on seeing at your museum today.  Consider seating (or the lack thereof) in your galleries   The one exception is a tour designed for access (e.g. MoMA's Visual Descriptions tour for blind or partially sighted visitors)
  • Stephanie Layering is great but don’t overdo it or use it as a way to avoid editing your content down to the essentials. Play Chuck Close audio as an example of using narration to turn the visitor’s eye to the screen, and using the outro to introduce a layer of additional content.
  • Stephanie
  • Erica Audio quality: If its poor but still legible, you might still be able to use it. For example, many Archives of American Art reel to reels that were recorded for the transcript, not audio quality-- you can preface the poor quality by scripting "Here's XXX from a 1965 interview, recorded in her downtown Manhattan studio...."
  • Stephanie
  • Erica
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  • Erica
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  • Script Writing for In-Gallery Mobile Interpretation: A Participatory Workshop and Crit Room

    1. 1. Script Writing !for Mobile: !A Hands-On Workshop !& Crit RoomStephanie Pau, The Museum ofModern ArtErica Gangsei, San FranciscoMuseum of Modern Art
    2. 2. Hello.Stephanie PauAssociate Educator, Interpretation &ResearchMoMA, New YorkErica GangseiManager of Interpretive MediaSFMOMA
    3. 3. Why are you thinking of taking content-production in-house?a.  I think I can save $ over an existing solutionb.  I have no budget to hire outside vendorsc.  I would like more creative control d.  I want ownership of contente.  I want to build up in-house skillsf.  All of the above 
    4. 4. Let’s Warm Up!
    5. 5. Part I:!Tips for Scripting
    6. 6. Before You Begin…•  CONSIDER CONTEXT & SETTING o  Is audio or mobile the appropriate medium in this instance? o  Is the exhibit already media-heavy? Will there be a lot of ambientnoise? •  WHAT OTHER GALLERY RESOURCES WILL BE PROVIDED?o  Check with Curatorial/ Education about labels, wall texts, and other in-gallery didactics/interpretation o  Some redundancy is OK, but try to stagger resources and diversifycontent •  DECIDE ON THE PRIMARY AUDIENCEo  Who do you want to target?
    7. 7. Before You Begin…•  CHOOSE A MIX OF OBJECTS  o  Baffling objects that require interpretationo  Sticky objects that visitors naturally want to know more abouto  Stories that demand to be told•  AVOID & PREVENT BOTTLENECKS  o  Meet around the exhibit model, whenever possibleo  Think about skipping objects in high-congestion zones; spread contentevenly•  AVOID INFORMATION OVERLOAD!   o  What’s the total running time (TRT)?o  20-25 stops / 30-45 minutes TRT / 20-25% of objects on display
    8. 8. Step 1•  Content AuditStep 2•  Interviews(Actualities)Step 3•  ReviewAudio &TranscriptsStep 4•  ScriptingStep 5•  ScriptReviewStep 6•  AudioReview &Evaluation
    9. 9. •  Take stock of what other interpretive resources will be provided•  Dig into your institutional archiveso  What media does your museum already own?o  Library & Archiveso  Oral history initiatives o  Documentation of public lectures & programso  Repurpose existing videos and audioStep 1: Do a Content Audit
    10. 10. o  Research external catalogueso  Sound Archiveso  Library of Congress Recorded Sound Reference Centero  California Library of Natural Soundso  Macaulay Library (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)o  Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institutiono  Skowhegan Lecture Archives….and many more o  Historical Societies, Libraries, Archives, Documentarians &other Museums Step 1: Do a Content Audit
    11. 11. Step 2: Interviews (Actualities)Choose your subject(s) wiselyo  Will you interview experts, artists, writers, community members,storytellers, visitors, or…?o  Are they fluent speakers? Do you have a sense of their energy,charisma, or natural storytelling ability? o  If you have time and resources to record multiple perspectives, do ito  Consider broadening your notion of "expertise" 
    12. 12. Step 2: Interviews (Actualities)o  Do your homework beforehand, but don’t act like you already know theanswerso  Don’t craft questions that answer themselveso  Avoid questions that elicit YES/NO answerso  Remind interviewees to rephrase the questionQ: “What did you eat for breakfast this morning?” A: “This morning I ate oatmeal, bananas, and tea.”o  Keep your interview session targeted§  Ask about topics most relevant to the visitor§  Ask about specific objects or topics“INTERVIEWS ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS THE INTERVIEWER”
    13. 13. Step 2: Interviews (Actualities)•  Transcribe with Timecode •  A time code is a time stamp inserted periodically in a transcript, normally[HH:MM:SS]•  Helps you quickly locate words and phrases in the corresponding audio•  Preserve stutters, ums, long pauses, laughter, verbal ticks, etc. so you can beaware of them while scripting and editing; also preserves the character ofone’s voice•  Very handy for licensing content
    14. 14. Step 3: Review Audio &Transcripts•  Listen to check the audio quality•  Use quotes for emphasis, flow and drama; not just for factoids •  If an interviewee says something with passion, find a way to use it •  Let good quotes stand on their own; narration should frame, notparaphraseHowever...•  At times your narrator can say in one sentence whatyour interviewee says in three; replace meandering commentswith concise narration.
    15. 15. Step 4: ScriptingThe Basics Building BlocksNarratorThe voice that frames the storyActualityThe subject or interviewee; unscriptedAmbient sound ("Buzztrack")Environmental sound, sound effects (sfx), score
    16. 16. Classic "NPR" (American radio doc formula)Narrator                        _____          ______     (20%)Actuality            _____          ______                 (70%)Ambient sound           ______                            (10%)The formula is functional and familiar, and theres something to that...
    17. 17. ...But what other approaches are possible?Narrator                                                              (__%)Actuality                                                             (__%)Ambient sound                                                  (__%)Listen...  Can you map the structure in this clip?What makes a program like Radiolab so compelling?
    18. 18. Does ambient sound = background?In only 1-2 seconds, ambient sound can:•  Wordlessly evoke a mood. •  Situate or transport the listener in time and space•  Serve as an important source of information, or accentuate a point!So…be sure to insert music and audio cues as you write   WORDS AREN T THE ONLY TOOLS FOR TELLING A GOOD STORY
    19. 19. Writing for the Ear•  Script as you would normallyspeako  No parenthetical clauseso  One thought per sentence;one breath per sentenceo  Use contractionso  Active, not passive voice§  Write in an order thatanswers "Who did what?"o  Short, simple sentences•  As you write, read yourwords aloud o  Can you follow the logic?o  Would a narrator be able toread it in one breath?"IF YOU WOULDNT SAY IT, DON T WRITE IT"
    20. 20. Writing into Actualities•  Create the illusion of a natural dialogue between narratorand interview clip•  The interviewee should appear to finish the narratorsthoughtNARRATOR: Several staffers caught a good look at the moon rock. Jane Doe is with the museums education department. She says the sight nearly scared her to death. !!ACTUALITY: Well, I saw the thing comin out of the sky, straight for my Macbook. All these pieces cracked off andwhen they landed, I could see they were stray ideas....
    21. 21. Beware Moon Rocks !•  "Moon Rocks”"Alien" visitors from another script or story•  Consider moving non-essential information into sublayers         (But beware excessive sublayers)•  Find an alternate platform for far out "Moon Rock" segments:        Podcast segments, blog posts, videos or audio slideshows, etc. ONE THEME PER SCRIPT, ONE THOUGHT PER SENTENCE.
    22. 22. Length Alert!Shoot for 1-1.5 minutes; 2 minutes max200 words = 90 seconds recordedBeware “Museum fatigue” 
    23. 23. Length Alert!•  Limit your script to "just in time"information Whats most relevant tounderstand here and now?•  Move non-essential informationinto a sublayer (but sparingly) •  And if you still cant tell the story in1-2 minutes, how else could thestory be told?•  Use image tracks sparingly, andonly if they really add value•  Videos should be short ( < 1 minute)
    24. 24. DO DON TBegin with what can be seen, and keepbringing the eye back to the work;encourage close lookingUndermine the act of seeingLeave room for interpretationOver-determine or shut out the possibilityof other readingsConduct new interviews; delve into thearchives (e.g. repositories like Archives ofAmerican Art; documentaries; othermuseums; public programs)Tell the story only through scriptednarrationBase your script around the actualityPredetermine what the story should be;ignore actualities that don t support yourthesisIntroduce multiple voices andperspectives. If they conflict, frame it as adebateSuggest that there is a single authority onthe subjectAllow for random access and meanderingScript a single, linear path ( forcedmarch )
    25. 25. Step 5: Script Review•  Have a colleague read it aloud as you listen without benefit of thescript•  Time your "walkthrough" reading to roughly estimate length•  Listen while gazing at a photo of the object (or better yet, the realthing)•  Does what you hear ring true with what you see?
    26. 26. Step 6: Audio Review &Evaluation•  Review audio on the same headphones or equipment as yourvisitors•  Listen on an open day in the galleries, preferably in front of theworko  Audio seems longer standing on your feeto  Environmental noise may be more than you had anticipatedo  People also tend to wander as they listen•  Listen to your visitorso  You dont need a lot of money to do surveys or observationo  Leave a comment book 
    27. 27. Part II:!Group Crit
    28. 28. Let’s Give!Constructive !Feedback.
    29. 29. Clark Art Institute!Williamstown, MA, USACase study: Artwork-specific audio guide stopsAverage running time: 2.5-3 minutes per stop (as scripted)Audience: GeneralFormat: Random-access / Artwork-specificDelivery method:Initially, keypad audio device. Plansto eventually port to touchscreendevices with multimedia & layeringcapabilities
    30. 30. #435. A Street in Venice, c. 1880-82John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925)Oil on canvas
    31. 31. #567. Cloud Study, c. 1821-22John Constable (English, 1776-1837)Oil on cream laid paper, mounted on canvas#435.
    32. 32. Part III:!Your Turn! !Hands-On Scriptwriting!
    33. 33. Hands-On ScriptwritingSTEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR INTERVIEW SUBJECTo  Divide into teams of twoSTEP 2: CONDUCT A 1-3 MINUTE INTERVIEWo  Every object has a story. Take turns interviewing each other about an item from your purse or bag, or something you are wearing such as clothing or jewelryo  Record using an iPhone, computer, or one of the provided deviceso  Practice active listeningo  Avoid YES/NO questions and observations posing as questionsSTEP 3: TRANSCRIBEo  Transcribe your interview with (rough) timecode
    34. 34. • AUDIENCE: What kind of visitor will be listening to your content? • SETTING: What other gallery resources will be provided? • THE BASICSo  NARRATION: The voice that frames the storyo  ACTUALITY: The interview, or media from your content audito  SFX: Music or ambient sound to set a tone or dramatize a point• WRITE FOR THE EARo  Script as you would normally speak o  One theme per script, one thought per sentenceo  As you write, read your words aloud• LENGTH ALERT! 200 words = approx. 90 secondsHands-On Scriptwriting
    35. 35.  • WHAT’S WORKING?o  Is the script an appropriate length?o  Is it written for the ear?o  Are there Moon Rocks?• HOW WAS THE PROCESS?o  Any take-aways from the interview and scripting process?o  How would you apply this to your own museum?CRIT TIME!
    36. 36. QUESTIONS?

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