Videos need to be about someone doing something.

The ideal video follows the classic “noun/verb” or maybe “noun/verb/object” sentence structure Mrs. Zellermyer taught you in third grade (note:  the name of your third grade teacher may vary.  Hopefully it was easier for you to spell when you were 8.)

“Our cute dog” is not a video because nothing happens.  Random shots of your dog lying around the house are what we in the video business call “snapshots,” as in “take out your still camera and shoot snapshots because this is not a video.”

Video requires action to hold our attention.  “Our cute dog digging a hole in the neighbor’s vegetable garden” is not only a video, it may also go viral.  Noun phrase: Our cute Dog.  Verb:  “digging” Object phrase:  “a hole in the neighbor’s vegetable garden.”

Other incomplete ideas for a video:  “Our new company president,” (doing what?  Dressing up like a Klingon? Firing the VP?)  “Christmas 2011” (versus, say, “Shaniqua opens her presents”) and “DisneyLand Trip” (Whose?  And what is it—a video of somebody flying on a plane?  Buying tickets?  What if we tried something more specific, like “Emma meets Mickey Mouse”?)

It’s just as bad to leave off the noun.  “Swimming” isn’t much of a video.  “Carol swimming across the English Channel” could win an Oscar for best short documentary.

You don’t need to plan out every aspect of your video in order for this to help. Anytime you focus  your video, it will get better. Next time you pull out the camera ask:  Who am I shooting?  What are they doing?  Think about it for just a few seconds to see if anything more interesting occurs to you—then fire away!

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