Tips for creating a PSA What is a PSA? Get visual
What is a PSA?
A Public Service Announcement (PSA) is a non-commercial advertisement used to change
public attitudes and behaviors. YOU HAVE 30 SECONDS TO DELIVER YOUR MESSAGE.
Decide exactly what your CORE MESSAGE is and translate it with creativity, interest and drama.
You have to grab the viewer’s attention and get them to sit up and pay attention.
Your message should be Simple, Unexpected and Emotional.
Tips for creating a PSA
Select your CORE MESSAGE and lead with it.
Here is an example:
“Teenagers shouldn’t drink and drive because statistics show that drunk driving is the leading
cause of accidental death and injury in this age group.”
You may have fallen asleep about half-way through and your audience will also.
Let’s try another example:
“When teenagers who drink get behind the wheel of a car, friends die.”
This is essentially the same information but it’s more compelling because the core idea is put
right out in front. In the first example, the message seems to be about statistics…don’t drink
and drive because if you do, statistics say that something bad could happen. True, but not very
compelling. The core message in the second example is pretty straight-forward: If you drink and
drive someone will die. Can’t get more direct than that.
Remember: Core message…highly focused…don’t beat around the bush.
With a limited amount of screen time, catching the attention of your audience is your greatest
challenge. Keep in mind that we are bombarded with images all day, every day. Your visual or
audio content must be unusual enough to cut through this daily clutter and grab attention.
Here is an example:
You show a close-up shot of a bobble-head doll on a car dashboard. Nodding approvingly over
and over, the image looks a bit comical. But before your audience can start to laugh...or while they
are laughing...the camera pans out and replaces the image with one that reveals that the
bobble-head doll is the only thing still moving after a horrible automobile crash. A very simple
image, used to express a very powerful point.
Read (or watch) the first five seconds of your commercial out loud. Then stop and ask: Would you
continue to listen to this commercial?
Does the PSA:
• Attract the attention of your target audience
• Speak to the audience in their own language
• Relate to the audience’s lives
• Deliver a single core message
• Deliver the message with clarity
• Motivate the audience and get a reaction.
What is a storyboard?
Once a concept or script is written for a film, the next step is to make a storyboard.
A storyboard visually tells the story panel by panel, kind of like a comic book.
Your storyboard will convey some of the following information:
• What characters are in the frame, and how are they moving?
• What are the characters saying to each other, if anything?
• How much time has passed between the last frame of the storyboard and the current one?
• Where the “camera” is in the scene? Close or far away? Is the camera moving?
Creating a storyboard will help you plan your filming out shot by shot.
How do I make a storyboard?
Most commonly, storyboards are drawn in pen or pencil. If you don’t like to draw you can also take
photos, cut out pictures from magazines or use a computer to make your storyboards. Keep in mind
that your drawings don’t have to be fancy! In fact, you want to spend just a few minutes drawing
each frame. Use basic shapes, stick figures, and simple backgrounds. If you draw your storyboard
frames on index cards, you can rearrange them to move parts of the story around.