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Merel: ‘Everybody wants to be seen’

Merel en poes

Role: writer en marketing tiger.
Working at B&S since: October 2016.
What is your favorite cat behaviour: ‘With soft blankets my adult cat turns back into a kitten. He nibbles and kneads with his paws, as he used to do when he drank from his mama.’

What do you like most about your work at Bord&Stift?

‘Try to write as narrative as possible. Not just convey dry information, but look for a way to do it as appealing and vividly as possible.’

What is that actually, narrative writing?

‘Literally make a story out of something. Come up with scenes, with a storyline and characters. Viewers can remember something much better if the information is part of a context. A list with separate bullet points does not stick that well, a story with characters who experience something. It also works well with the drawings; concrete scenes can be portrayed better than abstract ideas or concepts.

I prefer to sketch a world that the viewer can identify with. After all, you want to touch them, stimulate them with a video. Just pouring out a bin of information on them is counterproductive, they stop paying attention. No matter how technical a story is, in the end it is always about people, about how they deal with a new service, a new system or a new idea. If you empathize with your viewers and tailor your message to them, you bind them to you. Everybody wants to be seen.’

Which videos do that well?

‘What we often do is portray one or more characters. For example, we made a video for a secondary school, in which three fictional students followed a certain school path. In this way, we made it clear to students and their parents what the options are in a playful way.

In the video for Mentorship Nederland, we also brought to life two characters who, due to their illness or disability, are not fully able to make their own decisions. The video calls for someone to become a mentor. I think those are the best videos, in which we help make the world a bit more beautiful.’

What do you do besides narrative writing?

‘Once a week I work as a volunteer in the shelter, with the cats. Being seen is not only something that people like, animals do too. My favorite cats are the dummies, the faint of heart. In order for them to come out of their shells, you have to have real attention, recognize boundaries and sometimes even cross them lovingly. I see it as a kind of dance, carefully approaching and then taking a proper distance again. You often see that they want to cuddle, but don’t dare. The moment they realize how nice the tickling over their heads is, they relax a bit more, gently push their body against my hand and thus give me their confidence, then the euphoria rushes through me.

I also have two cats myself, Broccoli and Zucchini. The idea that the vet should shout ‘Broccoli’ when I sit there in the waiting room still makes me pretty happy.’

Also read
Jeroen: ‘You can really hit the mark with a drawing.’

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