How I Create

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creative video studio bauhaus style

It took me 15 months to create this 7-minute and 24-second video. One day per second 😅

“How can a pro like you take so long to produce a simple video? If you need 15 months, I better give up!”

Sorry to set a bad benchmark.

This video sits at the center of my business. It is the first thing a new client sees of me, and it’s one of the pillars of my work.

If you have an asset like that, whether it’s a video, a webpage, or a storefront, you will want it to be perfect.

Before I teach you my process, please watch the latest (and greatest) version of my video.

Done? Let’s go. It’s just six steps.

1. Intention

Why does this content exist? What does it need to go and accomplish? How far does it have to go? Who does it need to satisfy?

“I usually go ahead and start with a draft,” you might say at this point.

I invite you to start way before the draft by thinking about the world where this piece of content needs to live. Who it must speak to. Why you’re creating it.

Often asking these questions, you might realize that you don’t need that specific piece of content, that you’re better off creating something else or creating nothing at all.

2. Articulation

“What? Matteo, it’s time to write a draft. What else to think about after the intention?”

Once I know who I am talking to, I can decide what kind of language I will use to reach them.

I can be erudite and polite: use long words, acronyms, and refined metaphors. Only the members of a specific tribe will understand. I am narrowing down my content to the few that enjoy complexity.

I can be simple, direct, and even primal: use short words, simple explanations, and plain language. Everyone who reads will understand, but I won’t be polite enough for some.

I have an entire article on this.

3. Feedback

“I hate feedback, Matteo. Everyone is telling me a different thing, and I don’t know who’s right or who’s wrong.”

It’s time to create your content and collect feedback. But what kind of feedback?

What I usually ask is if there is something that jumps out, something missing, something wrong. I can have blind spots while I’m creating.

Once I have the feedback from my colleagues and clients, it’s time to get the quantitative feedback by publishing the content.

For a video, I will compare how many people watch the full video, how quickly people drop off at the beginning, and what actions they accomplish after the video ends. It’s important to find relevant benchmarks in your sector; you don’t want to look at an absolute number but at a relative one. A percentage against the benchmark.

The qualitative feedback from my peers is a first impression, and I can act on it or not. The hard data coming from the views of the video is the truth. I value it highly.

4. Refinement

“I have zero patience. I can’t keep working on the same content. How do you do it?”

This is where you must love the process. Each data point you collected in the feedback phase tells you a story. Sometimes, you need to stand your ground, but often, you must accept and integrate the feedback into the creative process.

You would be tempted to write immediately a second draft. But wait: has the feedback influenced your intention? And should your articulation change?

I treat revisions as brand-new pieces of content. I start again from scratch and create something original. Only to pass it again through a phase of feedback.

5. Simplification

“What now? We’ve talked about this articulation already. What is this extra phase?”

When I am ready to produce the content, I will start asking myself a few strategic questions:

  • What can I avoid saying?
  • Are there repetitions? Are they needed?
  • Can I say something more simply?

In point n. 2, Articulation, I might have lied to you. In a few cases, making something more complex and erudite will provide an advantage.

When I am in a rush, my brain is that of a 10-year-old. So keep it simple.

6. Production

“Finally, Matteo. Let’s get this show on the road!”

Not so fast. One last strategic thought, please.

Are you going to use your trusted and loyal tools, or will you use the new content as an excuse to try something new?

I see a lot of time wasted in this phase:

  • You try out a new text editor that promises to make editing more exciting.
  • You test a new video production routine, abandoning familiar tools.
  • You test a storyboarding solution that promises some AI magic, only to produce unsatisfactory results.

I’ve been using Apple Keynote for the past two decades. Anything visual I will create in Keynote. I’ve tried other solutions. But I will always fall back on Keynote when needed. Actually, the whole video is produced in real time, with zero editing. All happens inside Keynote: audio, video and animations included.

Keynote was created by Apple exclusively for Steve Jobs: good enough for Steve, good enough for me.

Parting advice

“What’s your trick, Matteo?”

Greatness requires dedication. When something looks and feels effortless, then you know that behind it, there are months of preparation.

Since we were talking about Jobs, his keynotes were rehearsed until they were perfect; they didn’t come out perfect just like that. Are you ready to put in the months that are required for greatness?

I love the process. I love writing these words to you right now. Very few things give me more joy than thinking, writing, and supporting others.

If you want to love the process too, let me know.

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