Bring your idea to life
Whether you’re working as a designer, writer, or video creator, there may be times when your creativity could use a little structure. When you have a great new idea for a video, consider these practical details to help get your creative process off to a good start, regardless of your project’s size.
Create a foundation, and then keep brainstorming! Fresh ideas will keep you excited about making new videos.
Consider your foundation
When you start out making videos, it’s important to develop your own personal creative style. Consider these recommendations before you dive into producing a video. They can help make your creative plans more efficient, practical, repeatable -- and they'll help you target your intended audience. That way your ideas can seamlessly develop into an awesome production!
- Create a video for your audience from the Pulitzer Center (Video in English)
- Sage advice on getting started with your story from a professional writer (Video in English)
See it in action
A day in a long-distance relationship inspires a short filmJack’s girlfriend is traveling the world for six months, and she challenges him to choose a date and visit her. He accepted the challenge and filmed his adventure. You never know when a normal, everyday activity like a phone call or video chat could offer a story opportunity. (Video in English)
Stories often stem from ordinary things -- like Simon’s catSometimes the best inspiration is sitting right in front of your or -- in the case of Simon’s cat -- on your laundry.
Real life is often the best place to find compelling, relatable storiesComedian, producer and director Ricky Gervais shares his top insight into story creation: Write what you know. (Video in English)
SoulPancake filmed the results of an experiment in happinessA research study concluded that expressing gratitude is a major contributing factor to happiness. SoulPancake tested out this theory and captured the outcomes in this video. (Video in English and Polish)
Remember your resources
Resources -- or the lack thereof -- can have a major effect on your creative output. Creators often first find out what they need for their production and make an inventory of what they already have (and what they can beg or borrow). Keeping an eye on costs is important especially if you want to create a sustainable, repeatable concept. Remember that friends can be a good resource, and they might be willing to help you out for free. Once you know your resources, you can set creative boundaries and plan your ideas around them.
Manage your time wisely
Time, like resources, can impact what you can do creatively. Many people have ideas about how to manage time, but no one size fits all. Think about how you like to work, and try to make most of your creative decisions before you go to production so you have time to focus on the shoot. It’ll help you reduce your costs, too.
People create videos for many reasons. When you're working out your idea, ask yourself why you're telling the story. Using that as a benchmark, you can decide which elements to keep or discard. Consider whether these elements serve your larger objective.
Who is your audience?
You’ve just had your best-ever idea, but unless it reaches an audience, you’ll miss out. Try to keep three things in mind when designing your production. First, who is your target audience? Do you know your audience’s demographics? If you have an established channel, check out the demographics report in YouTube Analytics to learn more about who watches your work. If you’re just starting out, be sure to keep in mind who you want to target. Then consider how you can reach and impact your target audience. What message do you want to convey, and how could your intended audience receive that message? Lastly, use these two considerations to hone in on your production style. “Style” can mean the words you use, the costumes, or even the location of the shoot. What does your audience want to see?
Construct your idea
Now that you’ve thought through some practical considerations including resources, time allocations, objectives and audience, it’s time to build your idea into a story. What sort of creative process works best for you? Everyone is different; how you create and develop your ideas is up to you. But here are a few tips you might try out:
- Start from scratch: It sounds obvious, but most ideas are lost because they’re forgotten. Always write down your ideas as soon as they pop into your head, whether it’s on your phone, in a notebook or on the back of a napkin -- it’ll save you a lot of heartache in the future. Take time to review your notes and write your stories. Think about including personal experiences, your environment, and characters in your thought process.
- Brainstorm: Throw around ideas and see what you come up with. Remember, you’re still in the planning phase, so let your imagination run wild. Creators often bounce their ideas off of friends for input. And remember, just because something seems far-fetched doesn’t mean you can’t find a creative way to execute it; often it helps to work backwards from a crazy idea to discover the best way to do it. For example, you may not be able to drive all of the way to the West Coast to film a romantic moment on the beach, but you could create the scene at your local lake. Also, consider the characters in your story. Who are they and what kind of journey are they on? Can their personalities contribute to the story?
- Frame your ideas: Next, you’ll likely want to get your ideas on paper. It can be helpful to break the concept up into parts: For example, who are the characters, where are they, and why are they there? When developing your plot, you may want to create some tension between what the characters want (or don’t want) and how they’re going to get it. In some productions, it might even be useful to add a twist to the story. Don’t forget to keep your target audience in mind when outlining your thoughts and developing a story.
- Write it out: Once you’ve got a solid idea of what your story will entail, it can be helpful to put it in a sharable format. Keep in mind, there are no right or wrong ways to write your ideas down -- do what works best for you.
However you choose to turn your idea into a story, remember that it’s your creativity that makes what you produce personal and relevant to your audience.
Is your creative process tied to reality?
Take a look at the resources you have and think about how you can budget better for production. If you have balanced your available resources with your objectives, you should find you’re saving money and time on your productions.
How are you developing your ideas into workable stories?
Have you created a template for noting down ideas and developing them into stories? This could help you capture all your great ideas and allow you to think about the resources and people you need to get your ideas off the ground.