How to make a video plan and balance it with intuition.

As Buddha said, the middle way is the right way.

The middle way for video production is to simply plan your general story...

and fill in the blanks along the way by listening to your intuition.

This past summer, AO Productions worked on our second music video with Demi Helenius, Polaroid Summer, an up and coming singer/songwriter with an angelic voice and quite an incredible story of redemption.

The first video we created together in early 2019 was called "Step by Step" about her struggles with depression and her redemption of overcoming it and trying to find love.

"Step by Step" was an incredible journey of creation and we learned a lot and created an incredible music video with a fantastic team. For this video we stuck to a very well planned out storyboard and video shot list. However, we actually planned too big and ended up not having enough time to pull off our shot list on day 1. so we cut a bunch out and added a second day of pick up shots that were slightly different than the original plan to pull of the video in a new and different way. It worked!

For this second music video we did just this past September 2019, we went on a very different yet also transformative journey of video creation.

The story was about a girls journey into exploring a love relationship fling through a summer beach town adventure. It was a continuation of the first video in that the "character" was now out of the depression phase, and entering into the love phase, yet only exploring love loosely and non-committedly. A relatable place in life for many of people.

Instead of cramming too much in this time, we actually went the opposite and barely had much at all for a shot list of what to film.

Here's the beautiful storyboard that our amazing Art Director, co-producer, Shannon Steed, created for the pre-production stage of the video creation:

As you can see, the story was very loosely crafted. The lyrics of the song "Polaroid Summer" had a lot of themes and words that were only vaguely covered in the moodboard and that was to let us just have a more "symbolic" video storyline this time, leaving it more abstract than the scenes in "Step by Step". This would allow us more time to just focus on only filming a few scenes for "Polaroid Summer" rather than the plethora of scenes we had shot for "Step by Step"

Ironically we were scrambling for footage ideas after only a few hours of shooting on day 1 and filming basically almost half of what we had planned to shoot already.

We realized we needed more footage ideas and it was amazing what happened.

Using our intuition we all felt and agreed that we needed to add some scenes beyond just the beach, but in the quaint little beach town of Lincoln City, OR we were quickly falling in love with as we stayed in this town and started filming over the past day.

We were hungry for lunch and as we were planning our lunch destination, and realizing all the cute places we had all spotted on our way through town, we decided as a team it made sense to bring the camera along and grab a few shots of the "couple" in the music video "eating lunch" as part of their date being shown in the music video.

What ended up happening is that all kinds of synchronous events and shot opportunities presented themselves and we had the camera ready and rolling in all those moments. We got more amazing footage than we could have ever planned.

for example during the lunch time in the town, we came across this perfectly "Americana" burger joint where we all ate lunch but faked the couple having a "lunch date".

Classic Americana Burger Joint, Lincoln City, OR (wide)

Classic Americana Burger Joint, Lincoln City, OR (Closeup)

We saw a cute "Americana" candy shop and got this series of shots.

Candyland Candy Shop at Lincoln City, OR for Demi Helenius Music Video Polaroid Summer (wide shot)

Candyland Candy Shop at Lincoln City, OR for Demi Helenius Music Video Polaroid Summer (medium wide shot)

We saw this Bettie Boop statue and got this shot.

Betty Boop Statue Shop at Lincoln City, OR for Demi Helenius Music Video Polaroid Summer (medium shot)

We saw a perfectly quirky lighthouse coffee shop and got these shots. ​

Lighthouse Coffee Lincoln City, Or Demi Helenius AO Productions Music Video Polaroid Summer (extreme wide shot)
Lighthouse Coffee Lincoln City, Or Demi Helenius AO Productions Music Video Polaroid Summer Wide shot

We saw a model T ford driving down the street and spontaneously grabbed this shot.

Model T Ford Lincoln City, OR Demi Helenius Music Video AO Productions (Wide Shot)

During the course of this hour long lunch break...we got more than half of the footage for the entire video!

The experience went on and on like this for the rest of the weekend, continually using our intuition and grabbing shots that were not even planned but worked better than we could have imagined on our storyboard.

The moral of the story, don't overplan....definitely don't underplan....but find the middle path....and plan with an open mind for spontaneous and intuitive changes...because you will never know how good your video can be unless you let inspiration lead the way.


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