Whether you’re developing a presentation, a screencast or an explanatory video, a key piece of advice you’ll hear over and over again is to develop a script and storyboard for the project before the actual production phase. This is something I’ve tried to take to heart in my presentation, screencast and video projects.
Presentation experts like Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds recommend “going analog” in the initial stages of development. Get away from the computer and sketch ideas using whiteboards, sticky notes, index cards – whatever works for you. The idea is to focus on creativity first, not fonts or transitions. This was also something that Lee LeFever emphasized his VizThink ’08 session on explanatory videos.
So, I thought it might be fun to show some of my sketches from brainstorming sessions and storyboarding from some of my explanatory videos. I recently just published an explanatory video on critical thinking. Most of the initial visual concepts and ideas for this came about one Saturday afternoon while I was washing dishes. As an aside, I’ve found that getting out of the office and doing something else is the best way for me to come up with ideas. Some of my best ideas have come when I’m outside playing fetch with my dog, washing dishes, cooking, showering, etc. (The relationship between thinking and physical activity is nicely explained in Dr. John Medina’s book, Brain Rules.)
Anyway, here’s some storyboard sketches I came up with for the critical thinking video. If you’ve seen the video, you may recognize some of the visual concepts. Not all the ideas made it into the video. A lot of things changed. But I think the exercise of sketching out ideas and storyboarding the script are not only essential for presentations and explanatory videos, but for me, it’s also fun.
And here’s a couple more from a new project I’m working on – an explanatory video about the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative.