How to plan

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Avatar of Jonathan Shank
Jonathan Shank on June 30, 2012 at 9:17 pm

How do people, even the youtube people, plan shorts so thoroughly? What do you need to do to be efficient? Will it come with experience?
i just have no idea where to begin

Avatar of J.J. Petty
J.J. Petty on July 2, 2012 at 12:35 am

Personally – and I’ve brought this up before – it depends on your style. Not all shorts (believe it or not) are all “thought out”. I know plenty of successes that are entirely improvisational. In fact – not to say I’m a success – improv seems a logical place to start, it was for me! It allows you to go through and slowly piece it all together the way you want it, and as you visualize it. Along with that, it gives you a chance to see what may need “smoothing out” when you do decide to take the step towards “thorough planning”.

If improv isn’t quite your style, then I suggest potentially doing a mixture of both. Come up with a basic idea, characters, a goal, and an end; then maybe begin seeing what will be needed in the short and obtain it. After that, just film it! The number one killer of both fun and (occasionally) plot sense – again, my personal opinion – is scripting. I’ve seen many a video go to waste on things that were clear in the writer’s mind and not in the audience’s or actors who feel forced into doing stuff that just doesn’t work for them and their visualization of how to bring that character to life. Characters seem far more “natural” when the actor is able to become the character.

Lastly, you can just take a dive into the planning process and slowly learn what to do and what not to do. Experience is truly the best in the filming process. It makes you learn what you’re proficient at and what techniques work for you and your crew.

All three options work fairly well (as I have attempted them all at one point or another) and I’m sure that any step, is a step in the right direction.

Avatar of Jonathan Shank
Jonathan Shank on July 3, 2012 at 10:28 am

That settles it then! I’m just gonna jump into it and see what works. Thanks

Avatar of Phlume
Phlume on July 3, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Storyboard storyboard storyboard.

You don’t have to be an “artist” to be able to convey direction with arrows, stick figures and thought bubbles.

Improv is great, don’t get me wrong.. but it is a talent that accompanies funny people. Schtick comedy, sight gags, witty off-the-cuff remarks are often the basis of improv. I s’pose improv could be done with drama or suspense, but it fits so eloquently within the framework of comedy.

If you want drama you have to plan your scenes and your shots and your ligthing. map it out with a few drawings and make an effort to think things through.

what is it they say.. an ounce of prevention? in this case you prevent wasting time/light/and effort… or on the backend wasting time in the editing room trying to get that “perfect” shot to fit in because you didn’t plan the timing of the camera or light correctly.

Avatar of J.J. Petty
J.J. Petty on July 4, 2012 at 7:54 am

Very true, Ralph. You’re right that it also often does matter on what kind of video it is you’re trying to accomplish. I agree, if it’s drama or something that is going to have twists-and-turns or anything that needs a defined story, definitely attempt planning. It will save time and effort in the long run.

Avatar of Phlume
Phlume on July 6, 2012 at 5:56 pm


Avatar of Joseph M. Gayoso
Joseph M. Gayoso on August 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm

One piece of advice I’d suggest is to work with what satisfies the need. What works best for what you need to do? Do you need an overly complicated storyboard, or can you make due with good communication and some rough drawings. Don’t get caught up in the method, but rather justify everything through your need. If you keep your focus on the main thing, and you iron out all that you do with that thing, then I think things should go swimmingly.

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