This weekend some of my friends and I will be shooting a short film for a 72 Hour Film Festival. I got "drafted" to be the Director... and Cameraman... and Editor... and maybe even an Extra. Should be fun!
Blogging and making a short movie have a lot in common.
A Blog Post is just an essay. Think Introduction, body of a few paragraphs, and a conclusion. Maybe 500 words. Easy right?
A short film is typically about 5 minutes long, so less that 500 words, if it has dialog at all. That's just long enough to deliver one simple idea or idea.
Since I'll be the director of our little production, I thought I should come up with a plan, because we have to write, shoot, edit, and deliver our movie in 72 hours. I've broken my system into 6 simple steps. Follow along, and you too can Unleash Your Creative Genius in 72 Hours or Less! It all starts with...
1. Ask the right questions
In blogging, you need a starting place. You'll want to start off knowing why you're writing! If you're blogging for a paying client, it helps to ask for any information they already have, white papers, previous copy or brochures, etc. If they are a business, they probably have this kind of information already.
For a personal blog, what are you planning to say? Is it like a diary? Are you trying to share your hobby, are you hoping to raise money or awareness of some cause? Even the "Show about Nothing" had a story to tell!
And don't forget the 5 "W"s: Who, What, Where, When, Why... and How. Ok, make that Five "W" and One "H"!
The same questions are a good place to start when making a short film too. Without them, you're just prattling on about nothing!
2. Brain Storm
In blogging, or making movies, its all about generating entertaining content quickly and building a following. It all starts with one good idea.
The best way to have a good idea, is to start with lots of ideas. Brain storming is writing down ideas about your subject and not rejecting anything. Sometimes even a bad idea will lead you to a good idea, so don't hold back here! You can do this as a group, or alone.
After filling up a few pages of ideas, take a break. Walk away, do something else, and let your brain unfocus for a while. When you come back, you'll have your answer almost immediately. Although sometimes your answer is "none of these are good ideas!" Sorry, it happens sometimes!
3. Choose the BEST Idea
From the chaos of the storm, pick the 3 best ideas. Now kind of play with them for a few minutes. Do some mind mapping with them. See where your ideas take you. Then see which one you like the best. Be decisive!
4. Develop your idea
Starting from your idea, write a "thesis statement". I know that sounds like boring English stuff right? Just think of it this way. What is your blog post about, and what point will you be making. It could be about "how easy it is to make a short movie" or "how to make money writing a blog post", but I already got that covered here, see?
Next, write supporting paragraphs or scenes that expand or explain more about your idea, leading the reader from your thesis, or starting idea, to the conclusion.
In our movie, I can see the opening scene, and the ending scene pretty clearly. Now we have to write in scenes to bridge the gap. Will I use comedy, or action?
The conclusion is like the happy ending, tying up all the lose ends. Or it might leave room for a sequel!
5. Edit until it sparkles!
Editing can seem brutal. You have way too much brilliant content. You've brain stormed, researched, the ideas just flowed, you were in the zone. Now you have to cut away the fluff!
If an idea doesn't support my subject or thesis, it gets cut. Next, read it out loud a couple times. Does it flow smoothly? There is usually a better way. Find it!
When I'm editing video, I'll go back and watch scenes over and over, making adjustments until finally it feels right. You'll know when its there!
The last part is just a matter of uploading your blog post, or delivering the movie. Then its time for popcorn and raving fans! See, that was easy!