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COURSE NAME: "Promotional Videos"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021

INSTRUCTOR: Chloe Barreau
EMAIL: cbarreau@johncabot.edu
HOURS: TH3:30 PM 6:15 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: COM 230 or permission of the instructor
OFFICE HOURS: Thursday 2pm - 3.30 pm

This course introduces students to the strategic, conceptual, creative, and technical aspects of promotional videos (teasers, promos, trailers, campaigns, sales reels, and spots). It provides a basic understanding of the various short formats produced in TV and Web communication. The aim is to study common procedures and to get hands-on experience making promos, including how to hook a viewer, how to reach a target, how to engage an audience, and most of all, how to sell a story. This course offers an intensive overview of the entire production process in promo production, including activities like researching, creating a concept pitch/brief, editing, and post-production. The class will feature screenings, exercises, in-class assignments, editing sessions, voiceover recording sessions, and group projects. In order to participate, students will be expected to have a basic understanding of the skills and concepts involved with video editing, audio recording, and mixing.

Today’s short attention spans of the audience require quick, clever branding.
In the era of digital communication, networks are rushing to engage consumers through entertaining, shareable, efficient branded promos.
Most of the time, 30 seconds is all you got. How can you drive viewers to watch a program? What works? Why does it work?

After 15 years working with prestigious international brands such as NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, HISTORY CHANNEL, FOXCRIME, STUDIO UNIVERSAL, CANAL +... winning numerous PROMAX awards for creative communication along the way, the instructor is an expert in her field, able to share her own experience and set a professional environment. This course is meant to be inspiring as well as challenging, encouraging students to step beyond their comfort zone and use their creativity.

- Screenings : examples of the most effective branded communication, practices that made them successful.
- Deep immersions into exciting case-studies: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC rebrand, outstanding HBO spots, innovative NETFLIX trailers.
  Who create these crucial entertainment pieces? How are they developed? Why do they connect with their audiences?
- Strategic overview of the Entertainment Industry : state of the business, TV's future.
- Discussions on current media trends : the digital era, the new waves of disruption.
- Study and analysis of Industry's best practices.

- The class will mostly be a project-based learning environment offering useful practical skills.
- Introduction to the principles and technologies of audiovisual production.
- Students will create a variety of promotional videos from pre-existing audiovisual footage (TV shows, TV series, Feature films)  
- Premiere/Finalcut pro editing sessions, voiceover recordings, writing workshops spread throughout the semester.
- Logging, editing, copywriting, audio recording, mixing techniques.
- Experience and understanding of all the steps of the promo production process.

THEORETICAL APPROACH (screenings and analysis) and HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE (in class exercises and video assignments) will prepare students for further studies in digital production as well as professional careers in the following fields :


PRE-REQUISTE : COM 230 or permission of the instructor
In order to participate, students will be expected to have a basic understanding of the skills and concepts involved in video editing, audio recording and mixing.
However, since the course deals with a lot of Marketing aspects, it is open to Marketing / Communication students (with permission), as long as they are motivated, eager to learn the basics of editing and ready to team-up with students who have followed the COM 230 class. 

Students will be expected to bring an external hard drive to store and archive captured material and video projects. (Mac formatted, 500GB recommended)

Students have access to the digital equipment provided by JCU for the course.
They can edit on Premiere and Finalcut X in the digital lab or on their personal computer on any other editing software, as long as they are able to deliver the video assignments in the following format : H264 1280x720

This course aims to provide students an understanding on how to create promotional videos for maximum audiovisual emotional impact and provides the skills necessary to produce them.

Upon completing of the course, students will be able to :


·      Have a much broader culture in the field
.      Analise the audiovisual impact of TV communication
.      Understand the role and basic rules of on-air promotion : band perception and contents
.      Have a strategic and creative thinking about promotional communication


.     Learn the vocabulary associated with video production and on-air promotion 
.     Analise the current media trends and the changes the Entertainment Industry is going through
.     Have a better knowledge of video production workflow, tools and techniques


·      Conduct a creative research and select excerpts
.      Follow a brief, ensure output is highly targeted to the local audience and respects brand values
.      Understand how to write an effective short script, learn the art of synthesis (Less is more)
.      Generate copy, ideas and concepts that best meet the brief and schedule
·      Improve planning and practical skills to manage projects
.      Work in a creative team within given budget and timeline
·      Develop communication skills and the learn the ability to be persuasive at various levels


Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
STORYrobert mckeeHarperCollins9780062039828  
THE WRITER'S JOURNEYChristopher VoglerMichael Wiese Productions 978-1-932907-36-0  
ParticipationAttendance / Communication / Respect of the deadlines / Participation in class / Ability to search for references. 15%
Assignments x 4Students' assignments will be judged on the following : CONCEPT (idea and creative approach, originality) / LOOK (Footage choice, overall visual look and feel) / EDIT (Effective pacing, Sound and visual coordination / Length cut / Rhythm & Fluidity) / SCRIPT (Copywriting which successfully communicates and achieves goals) / GRAPHICS (Endpage / written elements, typos, logo) 15%
Final exam Student’s final assignment will be judged on the following: CONCEPT (idea and creative approach, originality) / LOOK (Footage choice, overall visual look and feel) / EDIT (Effective pacing, Sound and visual coordination / Length cut / Rhythm & Fluidity) / SCRIPT (Copywriting which successfully communicates and achieves goals) / GRAPHICS (Endpage / written elements, typos, logo) 25%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


Students are expected to send an e-mail to the instructor in case of absence.
This course requires a significant amount of work to be completed outside of class hours.
Due to the once a week meeting schedule for the course, missing one class can mean missing out on a major technical or conceptual lesson plan, which can affect the qualty of your projects.
Three late arrivals (more than 10 minutes) are counted as one unexcused absence.
Two unexcused absences will result in a full letter drop in the final grade and three unexcused absences will result in failure.
In the case of excused absences due to documented illness of family emergencies, please e-mail me and present a Dean's note asap.

No personal computer or smartphone use will be authorized in class.
To encourage creative writing techniques, students will be invited to take notes manually.

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Weeks 1-4: Fundamentals.

Intro to promotional communication

STATE OF THE BUSINESS - The future of TV in the digital Era - The next wave of disruption

Strategic aspects of On-Air communication 360° campaign (on air / off air / web)

SIZE MATTERS : from 10'' TV teasers to 2'30 movie trailers, which length works better?

Weeks 5-8: Process & Case Study

CASE STUDY Global Campaigns

WORKING in TV : departments and workflows


Workshop & exercises

Weeks 9-10: Creative Prep

VIEWING / log exercises: selection of scenes and soundbites from a program

CREATIVE research, looking for ideas and references

MUSIC research (commercial music / library music)

Weeks 11-13:

CREATIVITY : where do ideas come from?
Tricks and techniques / Lateral thinking
COPYWRITING : Less is more
Plot elements / Connection elements
Writing exercises : how to write a short and effective script

Week 12-15: Post-Production

EDITING exercises: organizing and selecting footage, cutting music.

SOUND exercises: cleaning up audio, VO recording, sound design, mixing

Final screening of finished projects

SessionSession FocusReading AssignmentOther AssignmentMeeting Place/Exam Dates
CLASS 1TV IS DEAD. LONG LIVE TV! - How to use this class - Introduction to promotional communication - MOVIE TRAILER / TV PROMO - STATE OF THE BUSINESS: the future of TV - THE NEXT WAVE OF DISRUPTION - Screenings - Workshop    
CLASS 2ANATOMY OF A PROMO - What does a promo producer do for a living? - The various ways to promote an event - Screenings / Discussions. Workshop  Homework assignment: Project 1  
CLASS 3ALL KIND OF PROMOS - TRAILER / TEASER / GENERIC promo / EPISODIC promo / COMBO promo / STUNT promo / BRAND promo / LAUNCH promo - Screening & discussions - Workshop Project 1 feedback  
CLASS 4SIZE MATTERS: From 10’’ brand shorts to 3’ show trailers, which length works better? - Workshop Homework Assignment: Project 2  
CLASS 5THE PROMO PRODUCTION PROCESS - Working in TV: the various departments and workflows - From assignment to approval, all the steps of promo production - Preparing a budget/schedule, coordinating the various figures - Editor, sound designer, speaker, graphic designer -   
CLASS 6CASE STUDY: TIME TO REBRAND - What is branding? When is a Rebrand necessary? 360° BRAND CAMPAIGN - print / on-air / web Trailers, Graphic package and tagline analysis Workshop Project 2 feedback Research 
CLASS 7 15 MINUTES OF FEMME - BEHIND THE SCENE employment - ON SCREEN representation - CASE STUDY : March 8th global women's strike campaign  Homework Assignment: Project 3 
CLASS 8 WHAT'S NEXT? - PROMO TRICKS AND MISTAKES - Workshop Project 3 Feedback  
CLASS 9THE SOUND OF SILENCE - SONIC semiotics / The MUSIC TOOL : Emotional Connection - The importance of SOUND DESIGN - cleaning up audio, VO recording sessions, sound effects, mixing - Screenings / Discussions - Workshop: cutting music  
CLASS 10 IN CLASS practice - Screenings / Discussions Workshop: cutting music / cleaning up audio/ VO recording / sound effects design / mixing  Homework assignment : Project 4 
CLASS 11 COPYWRITING - Less is more - PLOT elements / CONNECTION elements SCRIPT analysis - PASTICHE - COPY exercises   
CLASS 12 CREATIVITY - A CREATIVE CHRONOLOGY - Lateral Thinking / Emotional engagement SOMETHING FOR NOTHING - Workshop    
CLASS 13 PITCH - How to present an idea. Marketing strategy - dealing with approvalProject 4 feedback