Why no one is watching your video and 9 ways to improve your story [VIDEO]

NOTE: Thanks to a respected friend and colleague who pointed out my misreading of the chart at the beginning of the video. Here is what it actually means:

Most videos steadily lose viewers once “play” is clicked, with an average 10.39% of viewers clicking away after ten seconds and 53.56% leaving after one minute.

and a link to where I found this info. Tubemogul.com

Striking info none the less. I’m looking for more updated info, and will pass it on when I find it. I’m betting not much has changed.

[VIDEO: 35mins]


Here are the 9 ideas I think will improve your stories:

Note: You’ll have to watch to get more detail

1. Create a strong sense of place

2. Steal

3. Create some drama

4. Stop burying your lede

5. Be bold

6. What the hell?

7. Bait the hook

8. Add a dash of mystery

9. Keep them guessing


Manhattan (1979)

Photographer Lucas Oleniuk and columnist Jennifer Wells reflect on the Conrad Black trial.

Man on Wire

Apocalypse Now

This American Life on Showtime

LATimes.com Waiting for Death

NYTimes.com One in 8 Million

Wapo.com One Man, Two Worlds


Life Unbarred

The Failure of Reform

Scarred by Abuse


  1. I love it when you do class!!!

    I knew a lot of this stuff from a film making book i read years ago but dam it if you didn’t make a video that summed up 200 pages of reading perfectly.

    I hope you have more storytelling lessons. I think these are the most difficult to come by on the web and is the most needed.

    For example transitions. I love transitions and i don’t mean cross fading, but more how do you bring your character to a new scene or new story direction. When i watch films or commercials i always watch for the transitions because it takes careful planning and vision to do it really well and when it is done it is seamless and beautiful.

    Any who, I will be sharing this around on Facebook and Twitter because you obviously rock.

    Thank you,

  2. This is exactly what I needed! I’m a one-person show, so I have to do everything – I don’t want to lose that creative approach that keeps a viewer watching. Great pointers and examples!

  3. You are the MAN! This was great. Good to watch, good advice. I took notes and posted them on my editing monitor at work.

    Advice on editing (not technical how-to’s) is my favorite thing to listen to. The parts of a story, editing for good retention, suspense, build up. I love it. And it’s nice to hear you echo what I tell editors here, the question isn’t “Is this too long?”, it’s “Is this engaging throughout?”

    Thanks again. Made my day.

    Adam Wisneski