Hi Steve,

Ordered your book from Amazon and devoured it in 2 days; awesome stuff.

I have a question on chapter 2 re: intent. Coming from an internet marketing background I am unfortunately ingrained with ‘results’ driven approaches   (increase conversion, ROI, etc). I was wondering if I could give you some examples of intent just to clarify if I am on the right track.

The video I will be shooting is in fitness. One intent I brainstormed was ‘Inspire viewers to workout’. Is that a result because viewers work out later at some point after the video is done?


In its simplest form, intent helps you make your video. A result is something you measure later to see how successful you’ve been.

To use your fitness example, your intent is to inspire.  You can do “to inspire” in your video.  You can examine each line of dialogue to see if it’s inspiring.  You can use inspiring music.  You can shoot inspiring bodies as models.

Your results might be measurable, in which case you can determine your Return On Investment.  “I spent $500 on that video, and made $2,000 in sales.  That’s good ROI!” you might say– later, after the video runs. But because you can’t measure ROI until after the fact, you can’t edit your video for ROI. You can’t choose models based on ROI.  You can’t choose music that’s better for ROI.*

ROI doesn’t help you make the video.  And that’s the distinction.  Your intent guides your creativity.  A result happens later, and can’t.

“I want to be discovered by an agent” is a result– and perhaps a legitimate reason to make a video.  But it won’t help you make decisions on what to cut, or where to shoot, or what actors to select.  You need something actionable for that.

“I want to make people laugh” can guide your choices.  “I want to help people understand global warming” can guide your choices.  You may not always succeed– but knowing your intent will give you a way to choose.

More on intent...

*Geek Note: Okay, you can make some choices based on measures. For example, if you test your video with two different songs and measure how many people watch each version all the way through, you can choose the stronger song.  But how you choose both those songs and choose each edit and what color to make the graphics– that’s all about intent.  You can’t measure your way to great video– there would be an infinite number of choices to test.


Did you know you can ask questions here? And that the good ones will be answered on this site? And you could become famous as a great question-asker like Ryan? Wouldn’t that be cool? Why are you still reading and not clicking the link

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