From How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck, Page 25:

Before you shoot your next video, brainstorm a long list of why you’re doing it and how you want to treat the audience. Select the most useful thoughts from your list and keep that in mind as your intent, or purpose. Let your intent live in your mind, and your video will instantly take on a life it may not have had before.

Here’s a video I co-directed for Summer Stars Camp for the Performing Arts. Summer Stars teaches disadvantaged kids ages 11 to 14 how to succeed through the performing arts.

Ultimately, I went with the intent “to show a before and after view of the kids who’ve been to camp.” Keeping that intent in mind throughout planning led us to interview kids on day one of camp, when they were defensive and shy, and again on the last day, after their triumphant performance in the camp-ending show. I also interviewed counselors now in college who’d been on the verge of gang membership when they first arrived as tough and terrified 12-year-olds.

Having a clear intent helped us see what really belonged in the video and what didn’t. You can see the results here:

You can still donate to Summer Stars here!

More examples from the book…

laptop 1

Get a free preview of the new video course!

Sample two lessons from our new video course free right now. No signup or credit card required!


  • Frank Rodriguez says:

    I’m having to stay home because of the coronavirus so I ordered your book. So happy I did! I’m ready to get out and start filming.

    Thank you, Frank Rodriguez Emporia, KS

  • Steve, love your book and the way you tell the needs for great content. Thank you.

    I was looking to create a list for pre shooting questions to draw from clients to get the most out of their needs for a better video.

    Thanks, Daniel

  • Patricia says:

    Definitely brought tears to my eyes. . .

  • Hank Simpson says:

    JUST started reading your book (May 2018). I love the fact that you still have these articles and videos posted.Thank you!

    I have a Big Scary Project I'm gearing up for, and I'm loving everything you've done. Makes me feel like I can do this.

  • This video inspired me to think in another way, be more fokusing and goal-directed in my videowork. The whole book is source of inspiration.
    Steve your book have helped me more than you think. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Want free weekly video tips?


Enter your email and get Steve's weekly newsletter with tips, videos, and amazing offers.

Share via
Copy link