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Promo Guide (As Written by Austin)

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Promo Guide (As Written by Austin)

Post by Mr. Dashing on Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:21 am

First and foremost, this is in no way a strict how-to guide that you need to follow line by line in order to produce the perfect promo. The best thing about promos are the flavor and special touch delivered by the person writing it. To quote Roger Ebert, "Many thrillers follow such reliable formulas that you can look at what's happening and guess how much longer a film has to run." A boring, by the books promo is not one worth writing, and it certainly isn't one worth reading. More of the same is just plain old boring.

However, this isn't to say that there's no room for formulas when constructing your promo, especially when it comes to visually. Click the spoiler below for advice on that.

Coding & Visuals:
For instance, in the event that someone does read my rare promo, they'd be able to note that my coding is always the same. I use italics for anything that isn't speaking, essentially the actions and scene-setting. I use bold for character names. Additionally, and I can't stress this enough, be careful with how you choose to color your promo. I keep constant, non-clashing colors throughout the whole thing. You don't want to read a pink and yellow paragraph, it's going to hurt your eyes and distract from the actual writing. Personally, I prefer it when promos stick to a nearly-monochromatic color scheme. Below is my personal preference for my own.

Grey (the default forum color)
Dark Red (#cc0000)
Lighter Red (#ff0000)
White (#ffffff) You can't see this one because it matches the spoiler background, but it's white. (#ffffff)

These colors visually complement each other without being a god-awful eyesore. They also fit the character. A happy-go-lucky plucky underdog shouldn't have dark and brooding colors. The colors should be more vibrant and bright, as it truly does lend itself to the overall feeling of the promo.

Personally, I do all of the coding for my promos at the very end after I've already written them. By highlighting the section you want and clicking the button of the corresponding function on the toolbar, it quickens everything up. I also do it in groups, doing all of the italics at one time and then moving on to coloring. The last step of coding for me is centering. It just looks nicer.

When coding is all wrapped up, highlight everything and CTRL+C, or your preferred way of copying text. This will insure that if anything goes wrong, you've got your prior work primed and ready to fix. Now preview it. Make sure everything looks nice and tidy, as you don't want any open codes causing chaos in the hot roast of your opponent.

Looks good? Good. Now reread it. Make sure all the grammar is right and there are no spelling mistakes. I know this is a chore and your fingers are tired from slamming them ferociously against the keyboard with the hot fire, but take the time to make sure you're saying what you meant to say. A stray key can wreak havoc in an otherwise lovely promo.

All that fancy coding stuff is nice and all, but the most important parts of a good promo have nothing to do with coloring at all (so put the crayons away for now.) Now, for the meat and potatoes: scene setting, characterization, and tone. Welcome to Austin's Creative Writing class. Take a seat, and click through the spoilers at your leisure.

Setting the Scene:
Scene setting is far and away my favorite part of promos. As a descriptive writer, I adore giving the reader a visceral feeling when it comes to the setting. The sounds, the visuals, the scent, whatever you deem important. A crowded, musty bar lends a grungy feeling toward a character. The turning of the corner of the mouth can make them come off as cocky, a raised eyebrow as condescending, a putrid stench as Dashing (did you really think there'd be no insults here?) But in all seriousness, you're not going to be having your character talk about bashing skulls while attending Sunday school... unless you're going for extreme contrast, which I support. Which leads directly into characterization.

Characterization :
Like coding, keeping constant with a character is incredibly important to giving them a certain feel. I know it's tempting to play the smarmy, smash-mouthed pipebomb Punk everyone loves, and if that's the character you want, go for it. But I think believability will take them a lot further. What is their motivation? Why are they here? These may seem simple, but Angry Rebellious Punk #492 is all too common in fedding. Make your character unique and fun to write. Give yourself room to expand on them, don't get locked down in the same old same old. Have backstory, or room to develop one. Have a story arc.

Tone:
And finally, tone. Human emotions are fickle, but don't have your character go from extremely serene to shouting in .5 seconds. Have that feeling build as they speak. Use word choice that progressively expresses emotion. Don't have their knuckles white immediately, or their veins protruding right off the bat. Obviously if it's an angry promo, go all in. But keep it short and don't let it drag on. Angry rant is only fun to read for so long.

Finally, if you are going to promo against someone, please put them over. It doesn't have to be overt or obvious, but acknowledge their credentials. In the event that you win, you look better for it. In the event that you lose, they have some caliber for you to not seem like a total chump. Even if it's a new guy, give them props for what you've seen or heard. You can still heel it up and make yourself seem like a million bucks, but are you really prepared to lose to a "piece of worthless scum nobody has ever heard of?" Your push certainly isn't.

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