What’s the first thing one should have before making a movie? A story! This is followed by a script which is usually preceded by an outline to map out plot points or beats. Once the foundation and framework is established then the writing tends to flow.
It’s much like building a house; a good building plan allows for more trouble free construction. The same concept applies to documentary or corporate production, or any type of visual storytelling for that matter. It’s important to know what one wants to communicate before rolling the camera. A script is the best thing to have but in some cases an outline will suffice as in the case of a documentary style shoot or a testimonial where you want to capture the essence of the communication in the subjects own words to feel their passion or disregard for the subject.
This is a creative medium and there are times when one doesn’t exactly know how to put the pieces together or sometimes what those pieces are. An experienced visual storyteller can help sort out the ideas to shape the story or communication. Sitting in a room, sharing ideas during a short brainstorming session can generate great creative energy and most often yields a rough or finished outline which then can be expanded with greater detail.
Having a script or detailed outline sheds light on the length of the finished video and gives the production team an idea of the pieces involved so an accurate estimate can be created. Things often change throughout the process but its necessary going in to know what’s expected to produce the highest quality piece possible with the resources available. This also helps when there’s a tight deadline as you focus in on the important subject matter versus covering broad topics which takes more time fishing for the key statements in post production (editing).
When a solid structure is in place with thoughts listed on paper collaborators can more effectively begin adding the color and flavor to the piece which captures the audience’s attention and stimulates their emotion.