5 Tips For Getting Creative With Video

Humans are all naturally creative. Trouble is that we just forget how to be creative and it becomes an unfamiliar feeling. So here are five tips that will help you to rediscover creative energy when planning a video project.

Be a “yes” person

When an idea pops into mind, when you see inspiration, when a colleague comes out with his outlandish idea for how to promote the company to viral stardom - look at it with a “yes” mindset. That means anything is possible, we only need to figure out how.

A “no” mindset will go straight to reasons why it won’t work, without letting the idea develop. “We can’t afford that”. “That’ll take too long”. “Our team is too small”, “We don’t have the right equipment”, “I don’t know if that is a sensible way to spend our time and money”.

I believe any idea can be the catalyst that leads to the next idea. What happens when you halt those initial ideas or pieces of inspiration? You never get to start developing them into something tangible, to make them a reality. You’re forever at square one.

Plus, one seemingly unrealistic, ridiculous idea can spark a second, less ridiculous idea. And that second idea can spark the third and fourth ideas, which would never have existed without the first.

If you say “yes” through this process, you’ll realise that with a great idea and plan, it’s easy to find solutions to logistical or financial barriers because you’re inspired and motivated to find a way.

Jump straight in

Go on, just pick up a camera (your phone will do for now) and go for it.

Us humans are great at improvising, and adapting to what’s happening around us. Just like at a party - you can have conversations that were not planned, you can meet new people you never knew existed until arriving.

Sometimes we just need to put ourselves in a situation so that our brains can figure out what to do.

And of course, you can use this process to develop your ideas, then come back with a good script in your hand and film it all for real.

Define a visual style

The visuals are usually secondary to the content of the video - but defining the look can give you a clear pathway on which to travel.

It might mean everything is filmed in timelapse - now you have to figure out how to show your story incorporating the passing of time.

It might mean each segment is filmed with a forward camera movement - We might be moving through rooms, following a hand holding a key and arriving at the door to the character’s new house that they finally were able to buy.

How about lighting - let’s make every shot lit by candles. and create a script, and music that fits a theme of staying in a cabin in the mountains.

Create restrictions

With all this talk about not blocking ideas, why create restrictions?

Because restrictions force you to solve problems, and squeeze new ideas to the surface. Here’s an example:

Tour of a new factory. Show outside the front of the building and inside the factory
Film the entire video in one shot
We need to film in two different, disconnected locations
Presenter speaks intro. Then picks up the camera and walks with it into the factory. Second staff member walks in with new tripod, presenter places camera on tripod and continues through the script.
Presenter speaks intro, then camera pans to reveal that it was mounted in back of an open-tray truck all along. Presenter climbs into the truck. Truck drives to location #2. Presenter gets out. Forklift picks up camera (on a pallet), places it down for presenter to continue.

What would have been made if we could film the two locations separately? Well, any number of creative ideas could come about. Point is, with the restriction of filming all in one shot, we came up with new ideas that didn’t exist before.

Get out of your head and into your body

When I’m feeling lost in my creativity, I try to do at least one significant thing to change my physical state. Our mind and body are not separate, they are one thing. So to get the gears turning, I’ll go to another room. I’ll shift my desk from sitting to standing (I have a cool sit - stand desk). I’ll change my clothes, go outside, put ideas on paper and draw a storyboard with pencil instead of being at the same computer where I default to doing work.

Go to a coffee shop, drink a new flavour of tea, get a haircut, go hug a tree. Shift your physical state and your mental state will shift too.

I hope these tips help you next time you’re stuck at your desk, wondering where you left your creativity.