Composer John Williams – you know, the guy behind the Star Wars theme among others – once said during an interview that he believed a good day of work was getting one minute of a composition completed.

You read that correctly – one minute.

One of the biggest drivers for the cost and time of creating your video is what the industry calls post production, which is the time following the video shoot when everything (video, sound, graphics and so forth) are put together and edited into a finished product.

Whether you are putting together a short 30-second video or a feature-length film, one of the best ways to keep costs down, maintain your sanity, and produce work you are proud of is with a little planning.

As my mentor Trout often tells me, “Proper Planning Permits Perfection.”

In the video world, this means doing a bit of storyboarding. Here are a few tips on how to storyboard your web videos.

Buyer Persona & Business Goals

This is the best thing you can possibly do (whether for creating a video or building your business). Who are you selling to, what do they want, and what do you want them to do. Read my previous blog posts on buyer personas, and video types for the various steps of the business sales funnel.

By identifying your market and business goal, you will be able to determine the type of video you need to create. Too often, I run across a client interested in creating a funny viral video. But if your goal is anything more than brand awareness than such a video may not be the right option.

Divide and Conquer

As you storyboard your video, consider breaking it up into acts. One age-old strategy is to create a three-act story for your video. The first act is to identify the problem (people seeking to buy a home). The second act is when you offer your solution and why your solution is the best option (you are a Realtor that specializes in homes for first-time homebuyers and you’ve been honored as among the best in the region for the last three years). The third act is demonstrate the results or outcome (in our real estate scenario, this could be visually just showing a “Sold” sign or with a client testimonial).

By breaking your video into acts, you can identify questions that need to be answered within the act, avoid repeating yourself throughout the video, and identify actions you want the viewer to take (even if it is to continue watching the video).

Segmenting the video also helps in identifying the visuals, graphics and other elements that will help get each message across.

Segmenting also helps with script or bullet point writing or, if those steps have already been done, helping polish what has already been written.


By tackling these two planning steps, you can begin to sketch out your storyboard. Here is an example of a storyboard worksheet that you can download and fill out on your next project. You can also simply use a whiteboard. The folks in Hollywood or Madison Avenue (or at Wieden+Kennedy) spend a lot of money on making their storyboards look great. But some simple stick figure drawings work just as well.

Shot Lists

Once your storyboard is completed, you will be able to fill out shot lists, which is just what it sounds like. It is a list of the shots you will need to shoot to complete the storyboard. A shot list helps minimize the time you spend shooting video. It also ensures you get everything you need captured at the video shoot so you don’t have to go back later and reshoot.

Later, during post production, you or your hired video marketer can more efficiently and effectively turn all that raw footage into something you can be proud of and (more importantly) have a video built to deliver your desired business results.

Let me know what are your best tips for how to storyboard your web videos.