Alfred Hitchcock said something to the effect that the most enjoyable process of movie making was the planning. Everything else, the shooting, acting, and editing was boring. Now I get it.

When I first started making videos for the photography School last year, I would turn on a camera and just start talking…totally ad lib. While some of it was quite funny, most of the footage was useless, unplanned and required tons of editing, fixing, or even re-shooting. I usually ended up shooting it sloppy, going back, replanning and shooting it correctly.

It seems crazy to me, but with all this complex technology, all the computers, video programs, software, burners used in production- I can say without a doubt the most useful tool in video production is a pen and piece of paper, to plan and script the idea. It is by far the most important, critical and efficient way to get to where you want to go. A solid, step by step plan….written on paper.

Now when I make a video, I sit down and brainstorm my ideas, arrange them, and try to present them in a simple way. I may spend 1-2 days planning a single 5 minute video.Once the basic idea is on paper, I can reshape it over and over, correcting mistakes before they happen. When I do this enough, I can see in my mind what the video will look like and how the information will be presented. After this, its just a matter of matching resources to the idea, but the best part is definitely the planning.

I understand that most of you arent shooting videos, but I know you do have goals, dreams, desires or you may enjoy a creative process. I think everyone has great ideas, but not everyone does something with them. And in that sense, not having a well thought out plan is like me sitting in front of the camera, making all kinds of mistakes. Sometimes you hit, but most of the time, you are spinning your wheels, peddling in no specific direction. I see it with some of my photography students, they want to take great pictures, but they arent sure how to do it, so they just start taking pictures hoping something will work, and dont understand why most of them are sucky.

You cannot reach your creative potential without a plan. That plan, until written is just an idea. Everyone has great ideas, but not everyone creates. Until you take a directed, planned approach, your efforts are scattered. Get it on paper.