YouTube Mentor "Texts"

Curating example films into a YouTube playlist help students understand what you're asking and dream big. By discussing the pros and cons of each video, you help students develop a deeper understanding of what they can create. 

Check out the YouTube playlist on the right to start gathering some ideas or have a look at my spoken word mentor "texts" playlist.

Brainstorming Story Structures with a Story Map

If your students are writing anything involving a plot, they need to plan it out. Take some time to learn about the elements of short story, and have students brainstorm using a story map. Find inspiration for your setting by finding images, sound effects, and background music to support your story.


Storyboarding allows you to create the vision of your video and to start making that vision come alive. Although it's not always the most invigorating part of pre-production, it is probably the most important part. It allows you to think about the visual elements as well as the audio components. Find the storyboard template that's right for your students or use StoryboardThat to plan the shots you’ll take. 

Preparing a Script

In addition to having a visual outline in your storyboard, it's important to know what your characters and/or narrator will say. Keep in mind that if you have a time limit on your film, you may want to do this before storyboarding. You might consider doing just an audio visual outline like this, or you could just do your standard script.  It may look something like this:

NARRATOR: Today we're going to show you how to plan out your video.

STUDENT: Wait! Why do I need to plan? Let's just shoot! 

Gathering Costumes & Props

Once you have the film all planned out, it's time to gather the costumes and props. I like to keep a box of random action figures in my classroom for students to use. In my class, it's all about spending no money while still creating believable characters. 

Ready to film? Move on to the Production phase.