Everything in your video should support your story. But it’s possible that the very medium you’re using could be fighting back.

Your video is ultimately about your message – that is, what you want to communicate with your audience. And your message is best expressed when you tell it as a story.

Stories come in a variety of forms. Although you may be making a video as a marketing tool, you are playing with an artistic medium. And you want your voice to come through loud and clear.

When someone uses art to convey a message, it should be done in a calculated way – that’s why we use strategic video to capture your viewer. And the style of a given video sets the tone, mood, or expectation for your viewer. It wouldn’t be fitting to have bright colors and jokes in a video about family issues, for example.

What do I mean by “style?” According to Merriam-Webster, we can define it as “a distinctive manner of expression,” whether through a color scheme, a way of lighting, a form of editing, etc. Different art or video ‘styles’ cause us to perceive messages differently.

Put another way, the style with which you choose to express your ideas affects how others perceive and understand your message. Let’s clarify what I mean.

Same Message, Different Expectations

Take fight scenes – we’ve all seen them and there’s always a message (a.k.a. story). At the very least, the protagonist has a disadvantage and we’re hoping for them to win. However, different people have very different ways of communicating this same message.

Jackie Chan always uses props to create an interesting fight. His style is very down to earth, expressive, and real. Compare this to someone like Edgar Wright, who produces highly stylized fight scenes. By using visual effects and witty dialogue, he creates a completely different feel by which the audience perceives the fight.

On one hand, we feel as though Jackie Chan is really trying hard and has a huge potential to lose. On the other hand, we feel that Scott Pilgrim won’t be in a whole lot of physical danger, but might suffer emotional wounds. The important thing to note: both styles convey the same message, just packaged in a different way.

How can this be?

Different Styles Evoke Different Feelings

Although we might be receiving the same message in art, a different style will change how we perceive it. Take, for example, the image of a person holding an apple from Iconosquare’s demo of Instagram filters:

Style Supports Your Story

So we’ve seen that your viewer will feel differently, depending on your style. But your viewer will also understand your message differently, depending on how you communicate. And you want to be sure that the style you’re using supports your story – the message you want to convey.

Remember: the fight scenes above conveyed the same message, but we understood one to be far more intense than the other.

Take a moment to examine this painting by Robert Lynn:

This is an abstract piece, yet it communicates a clear feeling. Lynn has intentionally created his art with a calculated color scheme and definite framing. Now compare it to this piece by Robert Ball Hughes:

This feels more like an old photograph – a memory of a distant, but very real experience. Both artists have different styles, and use them strategically to express their respective messages.

Take also the video game The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Its story (a.k.a. message) is deep and gloomy, about “a dark force, shrouded in twilight,” invading and corrupting the land of Hyrule. The darker atmosphere (i.e. muted & realistic colors) helps the player receive its message clearly. Any other style would likely have taken away from the story. Thus, its style supports its story.

Compare this to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, about a young boy searching for his kidnapped sister on the Great Sea. The story (i.e. message) of this game is far lighter than Twilight Princess; it’s full of fun adventure, quirky characters, and bizarre creatures. Its style, thus, also supports its story.

How Do You Express Your Story?

This whole article is to say that the way in which you tell your story (or convey your message) changes how your viewers will understand it. Your style will set the tone, mood, and expectation of your video.

It’s up to us, as the experts, to suggest and execute on different styles. But it’s up to you to think deeply on what you want to communicate.

Does your style match your story? Are you thinking about how to best express your message? If you coordinate the two, you’ll be far more successful in creating and communicating through video.