Speed Drawing Film

How long does it take you to read this blog post?

In this blog post we focus on film production, or more precisely speed drawing film, also known as white board film.

Speed drawing film keeps getting bigger and bigger, and was first recognized as a process tool when the UK based organisation RSA introduced it.
Today a lot of organisations and companies use speed drawing films as an important internal communications tool.

But what is a speed drawing film?

Speed drawing film is a film where you watch one or several illustrations being drawn, normally with a voice over.

An example of this type of film is this one (Danish version):

We were hired by Vinderstrategi A/S to make a film about their unique winning strategy® concept.

As a communications tool in the organization, it can be used to describe and simplify complex processes, it can be used as educational tool or maybe just to tell the story about the company history or the company products as the film above does.

Why use speed drawing film?

As a communications tool a speed drawing film can be quite effective since you as an audience uses both eyes and ears and thereby initiates your analytical sense as well as the creative sense. Compared to reading a piece of text in a document, in which you only use your analytical sense.
What this means is that you can receive more information in less time when watching this type of film.
The illustrations in a speed drawing film also have the implication that complex communication and text blocks can become easily understandable.
AND as a final argument to use this type of film: It is very fast to produce compared to other forms of film production. Since communication processes in large organizations often have tight deadlines, this type of film can be a suitable choice as a communications tool.

What type of speed drawing film do we use?

Our experience with speed drawing films is that they are most often used in one of the following categories:

  • Marketing (PR for a company or product)
  • Educational use, fx. E-learning film
  • Process film to communicate complex processes in large organisations or future strategy processes, visions, change management etc.

Be aware of the following, when working with speed drawing film:

  • One of the challenges we often experience is that a speed drawing film does not manage to make a complex issue more easily understandable. So to make a good and powerful speed drawing film you need an efficient script for the voice over. It takes time to make a good script, but it definitely also demands a lot for the team who is going to produce the storyboard and edit the film.
  • Unfortunately we also experience companies and divisions being more interested and fascinated by the speed drawing media itself instead of focusing on how they plan to use the film in the organisation. So, ask yourself: What value does this film give us? What is the purpose of this film?

Tips & Tricks

Since we have worked for several years with speed drawing film, we have collected some of our experiences working with this type of communication:

  • Write the script short and precise. Cut out all words that are not essential. Instead use illustrations as detailed metaphors.
  • The purpose of the film has to be clear from the beginning. What is it suppose to communicate and why?
  • What value does the film give you?
  • Know your target group! Who is the primary audience for the film? And the secondary audience? If you know your target group, it is much more simple to make a script and storyboard that will have a positive impact on your target group. Don’t assume that everybody will like your film just because you like it.
  • Make sure to include all primary stakeholders from day one when making a speed drawing film. Unfortunately we have experienced several times a film has been either killed or it has turned out to be an ongoing production because some stakeholders has joined the production too late and wanted to have a “say” on everything.

SO, to return to the question we began with, a speed drawing that will tell you the same as the text you have just read will last for about 2-2,5 minutes. And then it is even more entertaining to watch than it is to read this piece of text.

The Change of Communication

Reading: The Change of Communication (Danish: Forandring af kommunikation) by Frederik Hertel
Company changes can only take place through communication. Before a change process, an alignment of the views of the company’s goals, vision, and values is necessary. If values, goals and vision are predetermined by the management you have a top-down change process.

Contrary to the top-down change process another approach is possible and often preferable if you want to strengthen the employee engagement: You discuss the eligibility and possible change of the values with the employees.

Processes of change cannot simply be communicated. The communication itself must be changed. To change the communication in a company you have to have a policy of communication (the strategic level) as well as communication campaigns and communication activities (tactical / operational level). A process of change must be aligned with the general policy of communication.

German philosopher Habermas suggested a definition of the ideal communicative act:

Communication of change cannot comply to this ideal definition, though.

Due to the different levels of power in a company communication must be strategic. This somewhat manipulative element opens up for an ethical and moral perspective of the communication.

Communication of change can be divided into two paradigms:

1) Communication in a paradigm of change. In this paradigm communicating a message is like conveying a “thing” from a sender to a recipient. The problem here is that the message does not remain exactly the same thing for the sender as for the recipient. This is because of their different perspectives. Therefore, there is no communication without interpretation.

2) Communication in a paradigm of communication. This is the semiotic tradition. Subjects that communicate with each other have ‘intentionality’, i.e. they are always conscious of something and have always directed their consciousness towards something. So, communication is a cooperation between interlocutors on producing and exchanging significance / meaning. If they exchange different meanings (which they do!) this doesn’t imply failure of communication. Identical meaning from two different subjects is impossible! Communication is still possible, though, as people share the same contexts in communities, including companies.

Communication of change cannot be reduced to a tool used by the management to send messages to the employees. Employees are co-producers of the company’s communication of change. This co-production of meaning is essential for a change process to succeed in a company.