Sorry, but this post is not about writing a script for film or theatre. It is a screenplay of a different kind — the art of playing with the screen, the projector screen.
When we give a talk at an external location, we often have to adapt to the available technical equipment on-site. We find projectors fixed to the ceiling with a static projection area. This is a limitation that can hurt our performance. How frequently do we see speakers unintentionally moving into the projector beam because there is not enough space for them to move freely? It simply looks unprofessional. But what is the alternative? Standing in just one spot like we are glued to the ground? No! There is an elegant alternative.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce The Screenplay!
Make a cut
What happens when you project a black slide? Right, no light is being cast onto the screen. You can now move in front of the screen, and there are no ugly light shapes covering you up. But there is also no slide either. Why not now combine the best of the two worlds? Projecting our information on the screen and getting a little more freedom of movement. “How?”, you ask.
It’s simple, really simple: By just cutting our slides in half! Using a black shape covering up as much screen space as we need, and recomposition the visual elements onto the remaining area of our slide. Yes, many projectors nowadays use a 16:9 screen ratio, but who told our presentation to use the same?
By taking advantage of black areas, we can shape the presentation the way we want. You can even alternate between having the information on the right side of the screen and the left. This way, it is possible to use the whole stage during your talk. Playing with the screen takes a bit of practice, but I promise you, your audience will always remember this performance.
Standing in the projector beam looks unprofessional and should be avoided at all costs. By adding black shapes to our slides, we are able to shape the projection area as we want. Letting go of the idea that our slides have a fixed format, we can make the stage bow to our needs.