I get asked a lot about the preparation that goes into videos, and I often end up writing very long replies (because I enjoy talking about it). Here is one of those replies:
My process obviously varies a lot depending on the project. But I’ll use the example of Kings of Men to answer you.
I was given rough mixes of the music way in advance, which I listened to nonstop (maybe 150 plays in total before shooting). I used this as a starting point for ideas to form- what kind of mood and movement I would like to see accompany the song…
Then I began to plot out the narrative structure- with a music video I start by breaking down the length into 5-second chunks and outlining what action happens when until I’ve filled the grid.
From that I can make a shot list, taking each time segment and splitting it into the shots I want.
I love working from lists on set because (especially if I’m multitasking between performing AND directing) it helps me keep things moving and set up for what’s next. A safety blanket feeling too maybe…
Then there’s organising props/locations etc, casting and briefing actors…
The early process for a sketch is different because it’s dialogue-based. I would start with thinking of an important situation or character dynamic I want and write lines from there. After that I would still work from lists (although they would be a lot shorter most of the time).
Hope that helps!