Find your own best practices for efficient content creation

Sample image from episode 1 of my motion comic.

As a content creator, how can you efficiently turn your creativity into something you can share with others to enjoy? I ask this question of myself as I don’t think I am there yet, but I found episode 17.8 of the Writing Excuses podcast , The Alchemy of Creativity an interesting step on this journey.

Why does being efficient matter? Content creation takes real time and effort. (One definition of content creator vs influencer was a content creator focuses on creating new content, where as an influencer focuses more on the audience. Good quality content creation can be time consuming.) To keep up a steady stream of quality content to share, you need to be able to keep the overheads of creating content low, so you spend more of your valuable time on the creative side of content creation.

Personally, I am creating an animated motion comic as a hobby. As part of learning how to make episode scripts more interesting, I did some reading on a number of approaches for creating stories. Check out my Storytelling and Scriptwriting playlist on YouTube for a summary. Should you always follow these exact approaches? No, but I find methodologies a useful starting point. They can help you avoid common mistakes. The risk however is becoming overly constrained by a methodology to the extent it limits your creativity. The tools are there to help, not limit.

This is why I found episode 17.8 so interesting. In the podcast episode the different members of the show shared different approaches they used. But the great part for me was not someone sharing their practices, but rather when another member jumped up and said “I cannot work that way – I found doing this other approach works for me better.”

Examples from the show:

  • “I watch a movie in my head, then write that as a story” / “I cannot see a movie in my head, but I can feel the emotional thread and I write that”
  • “I think about dialogue while going to sleep and write down the results when I wake up” / “If I think about dialogue as I try to sleep, I stay awake all night. I have to purposely stop myself thinking about what I am working on before bed.”
  • “When I storyboard a movie script, I do multiple passes, identifying where emotions change, I write down the camera shots, I take lots of notes and then I move on to drawing the storyboards.” / “Others I work with can read a script and just start doing storyboards and it comes out great.”
  • “I love writing first drafts – I get such a creative buzz from that” / “I love revisions. My first pass just gets down the structure, the lightning gets added during revisions.”

It was a reminder that I do find learning and understanding different methodologies useful, but they are tools to assist bringing creative ideas to life. We are not all wired the same way as individuals. We each need to find what works best for ourselves, and not be bothered if it is not the same as others.

Personally, I suspect partly due to my background as a programmer / software architect, working out the structure of an episode up front is important to me. But it is through practice and repetition, actually producing something and seeing the results, that is where I really learn. I have been working towards getting my production tool chain stable enough so I can move over to focus on content, and less on the tools to produce it. And I am happy to finally have reached that point of committing (to myself at least) to start publishing episodes on a regular basis. I plan to “officially” launch my first episode of the series reboot in a few weeks, then release new episodes on a monthly basis until I can optimize my workflow and hopefully release more often.

But what is the best approach for you? Listen to others for opinions, but ultimately that is something you need to discover for yourself.

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