New Vlogs and Writing

One of the struggles I have is coming from writing screenplays to vlogs. When I write a script for TV or movies I have an outline, some idea, that flows from beginning to end. I haven’t been doing so well with that aspect. I’ve been teaching and sharing and while some of those I’ve scripted I’ve not followed the script. These next vlogs I’ve set up – are they really vlogs if they’re also informational? I don’t know, really. I call them vlogs, however, they’re really just videos. I guess it doesn’t matter what the term is. I write a blog and sometimes those are informational and most of the time they’re a journey. Off topic, sorry.

I’ve got a standard intro and outro I do for all of the videos. They start and end with a Cherokee greeting. I have my thanks-for-watching-like-subscribe down. The part that is missing is the story. I don’t have a clear goal. A clear outline. A clear, well, anything. I meander when I vlog. I generally do three takes. The first two are practice runs because I’ll forget something (which I wouldn’t do if I followed my scripts). The final version is the one I usually edit with inserts, color correct, color grade, and upload. I spend more time on that than I do the script.

These next vlogs I’ve scripted and thought about more what I want to say and what kind of inserts (cutaways) I want to do. I really should write these scripts more like screenplays where I am a character in my own script instead of rambling. Writing this way should also allow me to know how long my video will be and make sure I get the inserts I want. When I’m walking around the house for the renovations and the like I will walk-through and talk about what is going on and what I’m doing then record cinematic walk-through video of the insert shots. Doing it this way makes it easier for me to visualize.

I write what I visualize. That means if I’m writing about a car chase I see the scene and write what I see. Later, I’ll go back and edit the scene to pump it up or make it more dramatic, whatever the requirement is. Basically, I write in pictures. I can more easily visualize something that I’m writing as a cinematic feature than I can recording a bunch of video and then editing to flavor.

When I record live events I follow all of the action and then cut to make an interesting story. I know some vloggers that go record a kind-of-plan where they have an idea and then they go with it. Matti has a video about this where he wasn’t sure what he was going to record he just knew what he was going to say and that he wanted to get some great shots. You can watch that video here. Some vloggers write a blog entry and then record themselves reading it and put inserts where they think they should go.

I use fountain to write my scripts. I once wrote a text parser to take a regular text file and make a PDF formatted script you can do that on your own. You don’t need Final Draft or another screen writing software for this. It’s a pretty easy syntax to learn. I also have the start of a script in my Post Haste project on bitbucket here. If you don’t want to use the Post Haste project the start file is here. I also have a YouTube instructional on how to use Post Haste here. There are online viewers to view the fountain files one being Fountain Loader and another being the one I use Writer Duet. There are a few others like Cinema Vision which I have not used. Most of the time I use Writer Duet or Atom IDE which has a plugin for fountain files. All of the tools I use for writing scripts are free. Writer Duet will even load a fountain file from your Google Drive if you want it to. I own Final Draft I just don’t use it. If you need your script in Final Draft format there are ways to easily convert fountain scripts to Final Drafts format.

I am learning a lot from doing vlogs (mini-videos) that I didn’t learn while filming or doing videography. That helps me grow as a filmmaker, and as you have read, as a writer. I am looking forward to challenging myself and making better videos for this medium. However you write scripts or outlines is up to you. I’d love to hear what you use for writing your scripts or outlines.

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