pre-pro Approaches to developing a high-level idea

Hey all,

New here! I'm in the process of setting up my own channel where I produce videos which, most of the time, I put together from stock footage. The whole thing should be viewed as a hobby and I'm doing everything by myself.

The way I work is that I come up with a high-level idea first and go from there; something that can be summed up in one sentence that describes what I'd like to convey. Once I'm satisfied with that, it's hard for me to settle on an approach to continue the work. For one of the vids, I did a pretty detailed screenplay, but find myself often making changes to my initial plans as I collect the footage and do the edit.

For the video I'm working on right now, I have the high-level idea, but am not even sure what narrative elements are going to be essential, what the length of the vid is going to be, etc. There are a lot of question marks, but it seems the only way to find an answer to these questions is to just start collecting stock footage and building the parts of the vid that I do know are going to be there.

It's hard to be productive when I'm questioning myself all the time. Therefore I'm hoping to get input from those that feel they have something to add here.

Thank you!
 
I think he is applying "high concept" to films assembled with stock footage, but tell a story.
This.

OK so for example, high-level idea: a video on Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious and how it has manifested itself throughout the last century.

There are a lot of ways to approach this. I guess I’m looking for other people’s experiences in developing an idea further from there. Do you try and mentally map out the whole thing in advance, or just start building and learn along the way?

I understand my position might be unconventional but I still hope I can get some input!
 
I have the high-level idea, but am not even sure what narrative elements are going to be essential
a video on Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious and how it has manifested itself throughout the last century.

This sounds like a documentary to me, rather than a dramatic narrative. If that's the case, then you really do need to define what you want to say about Jung's theory and describe how you've seen it manifested over time. In essence, write a short, almost academic, dissertation on the subject, then find the stock footage that helps you illustrate your point.

start collecting stock footage and building the parts of the vid that I do know are going to be there.

That's going to be an uphill struggle! When you're working with stock footage (or even your own, randomly shot B-roll) you're working with material that was, by definition, shot with no fixed purpose or narrative in mind. As an exercise, if someone gives you a single clip, it can be fun to build a story around it; add another clip or two and the fun/challenge becomes more interesting. But the more non-specific footage you add, the harder it will be to forge a coherent narrative, one that matches what you want to say.

I think you've already acknowledged this, when you say that you find yourself changing your plans to suit the footage. Some changes are normal during the editing process, when moving shots from one place in the screenplay to another can tidy up "loose ends" in the sub-plots, but these should still be dictated by the story, not the cameraman.
 
This sounds like a documentary to me, rather than a dramatic narrative. If that's the case, then you really do need to define what you want to say about Jung's theory and describe how you've seen it manifested over time. In essence, write a short, almost academic, dissertation on the subject, then find the stock footage that helps you illustrate your point.



That's going to be an uphill struggle! When you're working with stock footage (or even your own, randomly shot B-roll) you're working with material that was, by definition, shot with no fixed purpose or narrative in mind. As an exercise, if someone gives you a single clip, it can be fun to build a story around it; add another clip or two and the fun/challenge becomes more interesting. But the more non-specific footage you add, the harder it will be to forge a coherent narrative, one that matches what you want to say.

I think you've already acknowledged this, when you say that you find yourself changing your plans to suit the footage. Some changes are normal during the editing process, when moving shots from one place in the screenplay to another can tidy up "loose ends" in the sub-plots, but these should still be dictated by the story, not the cameraman.

Great tips, thank you. I don't really want it to be a documentary but something slightly more abstract where a viewing will invite reflection/discussion. However in order to convey the essence of Jung's theory it definitely helps to, like you said, have a well-written overview of the points I think belong in there.. I think I'll start there.

The bit about the uphill struggle definitely makes sense. That's going to save me a lot of time. Thank you!
 
Last edited:
The bit about the uphill struggle definitely makes sense. That's going to save me a lot of time. Thank you!

You're welcome. Been there, done that, still wearing the t-shirt! Also worked alongside someone who was commissioned to "make a video" of an event, no story, no narrative, no other direction ... but also told that he had to include certain shots. He spent three days on site, and even on the last day, with hours and hours of footage, he had no real idea of how he was going to pull it all together. It didn't help when I pointed out that he packed up and went home every evening at about 10pm - just about the time when the festival really got going! :woohoo:

The organising committee for that event commissioned videos for the following two years, and they're essentially the same as the first - just a B-roll montage with a different soundtrack, and very little sense of what actually goes on at the festival (especially after midnight). I have a couple of ideas in mind to correct that! :contract:
 
Last edited:
Yes...a good plan or script.

Will it have a traditional voice over ....or something more like poetry where you ask questions? Or are you looking for something musical like Samsara?
 
Last edited:

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
You might want to look at American avant-garde cinema of the 1960s and 1970s. A lot of stories were told with archival and "found" footage etc.
 
Yes...a good plan or script.

Will it have a traditional voice over ....or something more like poetry where you ask questions? Or are you looking for something musical like Samsara?
No voice-over, I’m thinking of beginning with a Jung quote (in text on-screen) followed by an (abstract) narrative assembled through stock footage. The quote hopefully does enough for the viewer to connect some dots. I’m trying to use very characteristic footage so it’s hard to mistake what events are being referred to..

I have found copyright-free music from YouTube Library which matches well. I want it to be slightly mysterious, almost psychedelic. Love that atmosphere.

You might want to look at American avant-garde cinema of the 1960s and 1970s. A lot of stories were told with archival and "found" footage etc.
Cool, anything specific in mind? Sounds interesting.
 
Last edited:
So you start of with this. And then you make a musical collage where you illustrate this point. How will you do that? That's a pretty complex Idea.

Quotefancy-86468-3840x2160.jpg


Can you tel us a bit about your background? Did you make movies before?
 
Last edited:
So you start of with this. And then you make a musical collage where you illustrate this point. How will you do that? That's a pretty complex Idea.

Great question. I already had a different Jung quote in mind: "Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." General idea being that people are often unconsciously motivated by the contents of their unconscious mind. As Jung has stated on more than one occasion it was his belief that the big themes present in the collective unconscious manifest themselves in the big political/spiritual movements. During these movements the content of the collective unconscious is brought more into consciousness.

I think a good angle would be to display this mechanism by looking at big movements like say, the counterculture movement, and find stock footage that represents the themes corresponding to the collective unconscious of the time (at a quick glance let's say the unmet human need for peace/love, freedom etc.) What I find interesting as well is to look at the events leading up to this movement like for example the Vietnam War (war obviously being the polar opposite of a peace movement).

I could do this for different movements/historical events which would hopefully show the pattern. I'm also interested to look at current events like global warming/destruction of the planet to see what's going on there psychologically...

This is really helping me to find the heart of the matter, thank you! Let me know your thoughts!

Can you tel us a bit about your background? Did you make movies before?
I don't have a background in film but I do have a big passion for film (as most of you will 😁).Over the last year or so I've started making short vids for things I find personally interesting. I do have a decent camera but most of my vids are assembled from stock footage. Not sure if I can link to my YT-channel? Will be happy to share. Just as a hobby, but there's a dream there to start a Patreon sometime.

I have a BSc in Sound Design for Games but I'm not on the path to work in the industry full-time. I have a basic knowledge of editing software, also like to make visuals in Max/MSP. What attracts me to film is how you can use it as a medium to share something personal...
 
Last edited:
No voice-over, I’m thinking of beginning with a Jung quote (in text on-screen) followed by an (abstract) narrative assembled through stock footage. The quote hopefully does enough for the viewer to connect some dots.
I would think that your biggest challenge - not using a voice-over narrative - is that you cannot know how individual viewers will interpret the images. So the dots that any one person connects may be deviate significantly from the narrative that you've set out.

To take the Vietnam War example: that has no place in my history or my subconscious. As someone who grew up in a "colonised" country, my sympathies lie with the Viet Cong, so every image that you present I will see through that lens, unless you have a visual or audible reminder that I need to set aside my prejudices while interpreting the footage that follows.
 
I would think that your biggest challenge - not using a voice-over narrative - is that you cannot know how individual viewers will interpret the images. So the dots that any one person connects may be deviate significantly from the narrative that you've set out.

Makes sense. Tricky indeed; I don't mind if the film can be interpreted in different ways (I like a more abstract feel), but I of course don't want to not make any sense whatsoever.. 😛 I guess it comes down to how structured the film is, and how obvious the shots convey what is being said.
To take the Vietnam War example: that has no place in my history or my subconscious. As someone who grew up in a "colonised" country, my sympathies lie with the Viet Cong, so every image that you present I will see through that lens, unless you have a visual or audible reminder that I need to set aside my prejudices while interpreting the footage that follows.
I see. I'll have to have a think about that. Not sure how to tackle that at the moment.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Cool, anything specific in mind? Sounds interesting.
Well I did google up this article:
When I was in film school, a found footage film meant a film made with media already shot. So you might find an old family film on a super 8 reel and turn it into art. I studied Avant Garde Cinema as part of my degree where you can find many examples. Nowadays a found footage film is something like Blair Witch where finding the film is part of the story. But you still see many examples of using stock footage, found footage, etc. I just saw a cool music video made with "getting hurt" skateboarding clips obviously grabbed from social.
 
Patat4 is one of the best tracks of Syro. Interesting visuals reminds me a bit of the visuals of T69 collapse. You have some cool collection of images and experimentation going on on the other clips. Boards of Canada fits the video's very well. And I like the The purpose of art. I wonder what kind of music would fit "Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." Are you gonna make the music yourself or is that different from Sound Design?


 
  • Like
Reactions: GVA
Top