1. WMTST: Wide, medium, tight, super tight – get the moment.
2. Tell a simple story and focus on the story theme / commitment. Great stories have a theme. Care about your story!
3. Compose the interview shot with a nice background to get soft depth of field, rather than slamming the interviewee against a wall, which creates a flat background. Slow down, think about the entire shot and make it great.
4. Overlap your video (b-roll) to edit matched-action sequences.
5. Shoot a wide shot for each new sequence.
6. Look for opening and closing shots.
7. Open and close with a poem and make three points in the middle (Bob Dotson story mantra). Keep it simple.
8. Do I have a memorable moment? Look for emotion as emotion makes the story memorable. People don’t always remember what you said or did, but they remember how you made them feel. The feel is the juice, the emotion, and that makes a good story GREAT.
9. TIGHT SHOTS, TIGHT SHOTS, TIGHT SHOTS. At least half of your video should be tights shots, which will helps you get out of a jam in the edit bay. You can never have enough tight shots.
10. Every picture has a sound, get the mics close to hear the picture. Shoot with your ears. Use your wireless mic.
11. Have conversations rather than interviews with your subjects to get real authentic sound – remember to be tuned in and listening for succinct sound bites. This is their moment on-camera, so honor it and care.
12. Shoot yet another wide shot with creative composition.
13. When handheld, be up close and zoomed out wide as this makes for steady pictures.
14. Play nice and be positive with your crew and subject matters as you are always building and promoting your brand.
15. Have fun, it’s storytelling after all … and don’t take yourself so seriously.