Learning about short-form video

Gaining insights from the creator of Sustainable Squad on the art of storytelling through video

I like making content. I like photos. I like TikTok. But every time I’ve tried to make anything it’s ended up on the virtual cutting room floor. All of it. 

So I went and talked to an expert. My colleague Katie St Laurence is a client partner by day, and the creative force behind Sustainable Squad, on Instagram, podcast, and events project focusing on sustainability. I was particularly interested in discovering how Katie approaches video content creation, as I’m eager to enhance my own skills in that area.

Katie shared some invaluable advice on her creative process, which can be broken down into a few key steps:

  1. Collect and store ideas: Katie emphasises the importance of being ready when inspiration strikes. She constantly collects content and ideas, storing videos in an album on her phone and jotting down potential topics for a program or video. When the perfect opportunity arises, she combines these elements to craft a compelling story.
  2. Plan the structure: Using the example of a video she created for International Women’s Day, Katie explained how she writes down the key messages, compiles a list of shots, and uses this foundation to build her video. She spends around three hours shooting and editing, a process she clearly enjoys, as evidenced by the enthusiasm in her voice and the quality of her work.
  3. Tell a story: Katie knows that every piece of content she creates must tell a story. However, she also acknowledges that sometimes things just don’t work. Her advice? “If you’re not feeling it, abort.” This resonates with my own experiences in writing, where having a clear plan can save time and effort.
  4. Pay more attention to beginnings and endings: The last piece of advice Katie shared is that the start and finish of a story can be the most challenging part. She admits to spending more time on these aspects than any other, ensuring a strong and engaging narrative.

As I reflect on my conversation with Katie, I realise that many of my own attempts at creating short-form videos have been unsuccessful because I’ve tried to do everything at once – brainstorming, shooting, editing, and adding music. By adopting Katie’s more methodical approach, I’m hoping that I can create content I’m proud to share and that truly resonates with viewers.

If you’d like to check out Katie’s content and learn from her expert storytelling, head over to Instagram or Spotify (or search Sustainable Squad on your podcast app). 

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