In the second part of our video content creation series, we’re going to look at the pre-production elements of making content — mainly on the idea formulation, storyboarding, and storytelling aspects of making content.
We’re starting with: What kind of video content does your kid want to create? Do they know or do they just want to make something but they feel stuck in terms of generating an idea to get the ball rolling. Well, there are a couple of key questions you can ask them. What type of content do they want to make?
This goes to the genre. Genre is the different fields that interest particular audiences. There are also out-of-the-ordinary channels. For instance, there are some really creative ones on YouTube. This seems a good time to mention we’re not encouraging your child to create a public channel on YouTube unless they’re in their mid to late teens. We’re just using YouTube as an example of what makes video content successful. That being said, your younger children can always create private YouTube channels that only specific people — like friends and family — have the link to.
One particularly popular one is called Ryan’s World. Check it out. It’s amazing. It’s low production but does a lot with its ideas.
There are also 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 videos of cats doing crazy things. Approximately. The sky is the limit when it comes to developing a concept for video content or video content series. But let’s do the basics.
How to pick a genre and develop ideas for content
Help your kid along — after all, you know them pretty well! So, you can prompt them. Are they interested in fashion? Knowing the latest designer labels and the world’s best designers? They could do video content based on what’s currently on show in Paris. If they’re younger, they could give their critical take on the latest round of merchandise for kids. This could include sneakers, like from Nike, which are aimed at different markets.
Perhaps your child is an avid gamer and wants to share their experiences with others. They could easily screen record the segments of the games they want to highlight and incorporate them into the review they’re planning on making.
Maybe they’re a budding young cook in the kitchen who helps mum with baking cookies for special occasions (like the BOW girls or Charly’s Crafty Kitchen). And they have a ton of tips for youngsters looking to make their own brand of cookies! Through simple filming techniques and editing tricks (which we’ll examine in more detail in Part III), young chefs can demonstrate their ability to prepare and bake delicious treats in the kitchen.
Or perhaps your child is into (age-appropriate) movies. It’s perfectly acceptable on platforms like YouTube and elsewhere to take clips from a show or film and make commentary on them. This is not considered breaking copyright and is done all the time by professional reviewers. So, your kid can include that as part of their content.
And, finally, there’s a popular genre which is the documentary/education genre. Well-received channels like Eons take viewers on journeys that span hundreds of thousands to millions of years ago, posing questions like “what was the common ancestor of dogs and wolves like?” and “what caused the last ice age?”. Some of these shows look at what will happen billions of years hence when our galaxy, the Milky Way, collides with the giant galaxy Andromeda. (Spoiler: be glad you won’t be around to see it).
So, if your child is of the intellectual type, a budding scientist of his own, then perhaps he can put together his own channel or video content, posing an interesting question and exploring it in-depth. This could be exciting, because he may very well inform his adult family and friends about things they had no idea about, like what exactly happens in a black hole! (Interesting things! But black holes being black holes, you really want to observe them from quite a leisurely distance away, what with intense gravitational forces and all that).
How to plan the video content and storytelling aspects
The first step is simply to have a script. This is also possibly the only step your child really needs, though storyboarding is infinitely helpful. So, the essence of a script is that it is a blueprint for shooting the content. It is the plan. You’ve always got to have a plan.
Scriptwriting can get complex, so we’ll simplify it here as much as possible. Essentially, you have two elements: i) dialogue, and ii) descriptions. The dialogue will be everything said for the audio of the video content. For instance, to use a reviewer content piece example — games, or movies — the dialogue would be the commentary on the subject matter. Nearly all content features at least some sort of dialogue. Where it is actors playing a role, or it’s a narrator telling the story (the story being loosely used here, as a “review” or “up-coming games news” is also a story).
Then there are the descriptions. This describes what we will see and when we will see it. To use an example, the script descriptions would include the environment the content is shot in (say, mom’s kitchen for baking content), or, if a green screen is used, then what we see of the host of the show. Or your child or any other human who isn’t seen at all. And it’s also the stock content. (What stock photos and stock video content are was covered in Patt I of this series, as well as where to find two free download sites for them.)
The script’s descriptions would be along the lines of this example:
TITLE: AARON’S PATHS OF THE DINOSAURS, PART I
We open by showing stock footage of dinosaurs on exhibit in a museum.
Male Voice Over (me!): Dinosaurs have captured our imaginations for hundreds of years since they were first discovered in 1677, when Robert Plot found the first dinosaur bone.
Cut to: an illustrated image of a group of fossil hunters from 1712, dusting fossils entrenched in rock.
MVO: It fueled many adventurers and amateur fossil hunters seeking to discover the next great find. And today we’re going on a journey that takes us along… the paths of the dinosaurs!
Title sequence: Aaron’s Paths of the Dinosaurs, Part I
We show a stock clip footage of a large egg (actually an alligator egg, close enough)
MVO: From the moment their eggs are laid, dinosaur young are vulnerable… but in the end, they were most vulnerable was not to each other. But a force beyond this world…
The small hole we dug up to look like a crater is shot for five seconds, at close range, with little stones representing pieces of the “asteroid”…
MVO: The event that ended the era of the dinosaurs was marked by a falling asteroid that collided with Earth…
Okay, now to explain the process
Essentially, the script, as you can see, provides the steps taken to create and make the content. Sometimes this content is stock footage used in the editing process (more on that in Part IV) or content actually shot by your child using their (your) smartphone camera (more on that in Part III).
It also provides the direction on the audio. And that thing about the intro piece? Well, you’ve got to have good intros and outros for your content. Most editing programs provide their own set, but why not have your kid learn to design their own through an animation course like that one, for instance?
In any case, formulating the script allows for the story to fall into place. As you can see from our basic script, it provides a linear flow of events for shooting (and editing) the story. To make life even easier, we can break down the process through a further technique that allows for visualization of how shots will look.
Storyboarding to get the content dead-on
While for simple projects, your kid can stop at the script, the next stage would be to storyboard. Storyboarding, in the simplest terms, is like making a comic of the shoot. It doesn’t matter if your kid isn’t that great at drawing. Even simple sketches will work on A4 size pages, each representing a single shot from a scene. There don’t have to be a lot of these either.
What you want, though, is to capture the different perspectives of how the content will look on screen. Is it a close up shot at a 90-degree angle of an alligator egg? Is it a sketch of cookies from a top-down, bird’s eye view that comes in at scene 3 of Cookie’s Cookie Baking Show? Is it an ultra-wide shot of a kid’s clothing store that showcases the reams of fashion available to buy at the most upmarket shop in town? That depends on your kid’s vision and how they eventually see the content coming together,
Which is what storyboarding does. It helps them realize their vision. This is why it is actually an important part of the process.
Once they’ve formulated how the shot and stock footage are going to come together, how they fit into the story they want to tell, they’re ready to shoot.
Don’t miss the next installment!
Now that we have our blueprint, we’re ready to get rolling. This is where the heavy lifting is done. But it’s also really rewarding, especially when capturing scenes and sequences perfectly. But that’ll have to wait for next time. In the meantime, your child can focus on the story of the content they want to share. And slowly bringing it to life by creating that script and sketching up those storyboards.
So, they’re ready, with a head full of ideas, to get to doing production in as organized way as possible. Bringing their dreams to life, first from drafts on paper and then to… the screen!
Also, don’t forget, they can take a proper course that teaches them everything they need to know about becoming their own video content creator, with Tekkie Uni, the live online school that prizes individuality of spirit and creativity most of all.