A speech writer's take on important speeches, and the craft of writing for an audience.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Best Thing Since Footlights?
We’ve all seen it - A winner at the Academy Award ceremonies, gold statuette clutched firmly in hand, suddenly possessed of the urge to thank, by name, every individual in their Blackberry.
Academy Award speeches can turn an evening of unparalleled success into a dismal failure. Just consider James Cameron as he picked up his third Oscar for Titanic, Sally Field’s second Best Actress award, or Sacheen Littlefeather’s only Academy Award speech.
Sometimes it’s not so much a case of saying something wrong, as saying too much - going on interminably until being drowned out by the exit music. According to Movie Tribune, Bill Mechanic, Co-producer for the Oscars, informs the nominees that the long thank you speeches they deliver are “the single-most hated thing about the show.”
This year, Entertainment Daily reports, the “speeches will end on a high note,” thanks to an innovation dubbed the “thank you cam.” After a short speech on stage, the winners will be able to go back stage and make a second speech which can be sent to family, friends, and posted on the internet.
The winners will then be able to talk as long as they want. But nobody will be forced to unwillingly endure a soliloquy, that droned on a scene or two long.
It just may be the best innovation in the entertainment industry since footlights.
We’ll know for sure a week from now.
Title: I’d like to thank .... Speech By: Numerous award winners Date: March 7, 2010 Location: Kodak Theatre Occasion: 82nd Academy Awards Presentation Video Posted: Live - ABC Length: 45 seconds (We hope)
A veteran writer, researcher and lecturer, with more than 25 years experience in politics, political communications, and public relations. I’ve studied speech writing at NYU, and authored a number of published articles on the practice of lobbying as well as topics in American history.
My lecture on the War of 1812: 1812 – Uncle Sam’s First War, is now a lecture in the New York Speakers in the Humanities bicentennial commemoration series.