In the field of video production we hear a lot about creativity, about wonderful ideas, and beautiful images. A finished product is great, you complete a video and you upload it to YouTube, or you send it to a festival, or broadcast it on your local cable channels. But how do you get there? How does that wonderful idea, just a concept, turn into something more? Unfortunately it’s not quite as exciting as the flowery imagery associated with the arts - simply put if you want to create something great it’s usually best if you employ some organization methods.

1. Start Organized, Stay Organized
One of the easiest ways to stay organized throughout a project is to begin with a plan. By giving yourself guidelines you can manage your project from start to finish. This can be as simple as labeling computer files properly and creating folders that clearly identify what part of production the files within relate to. No matter what organizational method you choose, stay consistent. Don’t let yourself get lazy because that will only lead to frustration down the road.

2. Break Tasks Up Into Segments
One of my favorite ways to look at a project is to break it up into segments and then create to-do lists within those segments. So for instance I might break something up like this:

  • Video Project: Documentary about Norfolk
    -Determine overall goal, what story are we tellin
    -Contact people to interview
         -Historical Commission
         -Notable locations
         -Interesting people
    -Determine how many interviews, what questions
    -Proposed release date goal

  • Production
    -Equipment list/needs
    -Schedule of interviews and where to shoot

  • Post Production
    -File management and naming conventions
    -Selects from interviews
    -B-roll selects

    These segments allow me to think about the project as a whole and in individual parts. It makes an overwhelming task easier to digest by creating mini-tasks to accomplish along the way.

3. Create a Schedule or Timeline for Goals
Whether digital or written, it’s essential to have a timeline for your project. If you give yourself a goal to accomplish with no parameters of when or how, it’s very unlikely to get done. But tell yourself you have three months to plan, shoot, and edit a short movie, and you’re headed in the right direction. You can now create small goals and deadlines to hit along those three months. Just by writing down what your plan is you are more likely to accomplish it. So open your Google calendar, or go buy yourself a planner and get yourself motivated to create!

4. Seek Support from your Team
Most projects, video and otherwise, require more than just yourself. And even if you aren’t enlisting the help of others for your actual project, you can still seek support. When someone else is relying on you to complete a task you’re more likely to do it - you don’t want to let someone down because you didn’t make time to complete your job. So ask someone to check in on you, or maybe you prefer posting on social media to stay accountable.
Also, seek support by asking people for help, especially for work that you don’t enjoy or perhaps aren’t very good at. Find complementary teammates who might even enjoy doing the tasks you don’t want to, playing to others strengths is great for everyone. Never be afraid to ask for help, and realize that most people like to be included!

5. Use the Many Free Tools at your Disposal
There are so many tools out there to help you keep on track, and there’s something for all styles of organization
-Wunderlist: Create lists with subtasks and check off completed to-dos as you go. You can even share lists with others and they can check off their completed contributions.
-Trello: Create boards with lists, and lists with cards, to manage a variety of goals or projects. Invite other teammates to manage boards with you too.
-Google Calendar: Create any number of calendars, which can be color-coded for easy visuals, and create tasks/events and reminders. You can share these with others too.
-You can always stick with old fashioned pen and paper and utilize planners and notebooks too!

If a project is ever feeling overwhelming and you’re not sure where to begin, simply look at how you have organized and planned it out. Remember to give yourself reasonable goals and celebrate accomplishments. While staying organized won’t give you a completed project, it will certainly make it an easier and more enjoyable journey!

AuthorJen Jacobs