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January 18, 2023
We all have those days where we stare at the white abyss that is an empty page and ask “Why, why are you mocking me?” You can’t seem to get our creative juices flowing. You sit in front of your blank computer screen, and… nothing happens. If this sounds familiar, then you may be experiencing producer’s block.
Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Even the most experienced video professionals sometimes struggle to develop new and innovative ideas. In this age of 2.2-second attention spans, the struggle to be fresh and different every.darn.day is suffocating. The key is not to let it get the best of you and to keep fighting through it.
Remember these tips if you find yourself stuck and channel your inner cheerleader. Don’t give up! With a little effort, you’ll be producing great content in no time at all.
Knowing what you’re up against is half the battle. Producer’s block is a phenomenon experienced by every single video producer and creative director, where creative inspiration or motivation to work on projects stops. Grinds to an immediate halt. With writer’s block, you struggle to develop a new creative video or commercial concept, or even more generally, you feel complete disinterest in a project. (Don’t worry- we won’t tell your client.) Producer’s block can be incredibly frustrating and demoralizing, so I’ll give you your moment.
If you need a break, take it. If you need to lean into your general malaise, do it. Vent to some willing participant for 20 minutes, maybe 25, and then put your big girl panties on and carry on.
You can force yourself to restart by doing something that gets you going creatively, which is highly personal. You could take a walk, color in that adult coloring book you hide, or zone out over some avant-garde new movie. Last, if you can’t seem to tackle eating the elephant, take one bite at a time. Breaking down the more significant tasks into smaller tasks.
Just getting started is the hard part.
Pinpointing the causes of a producer’s block can help you identify strategies for overcoming it.
Common underlying issues are lack of motivation, difficulty accessing creative inspiration from external sources, fear or insecurity about experimentation, lack of focus or direction, and illness or exhaustion.
To break through your block, analyze each case and take steps to fix the root of the problem so you can get back in the flow!
The biggest problem with producer’s block is that it hinders creativity. It can prevent you from making meaningful connections between ideas and sometimes mean the difference between producing success or failure.
So let’s get right to the techniques that help overcome producer’s block.
Perhaps the most effective way is to create boundaries for yourself concerning productivity and rework what already exists.
You still have to decide on these, but push beyond what you feel comfortable with. Try time blocking. If you’re more creative in the morning, ignore your email, texts, and calls for that window and dedicate yourself fully to thinking about this one thing.
It doesn’t have to be a ton of time; 50 minutes is an excellent place to start. It’s long enough to get in a flow and short enough to not want to hang myself if it ends up unproductive.
Regardless, once these rules are in place, it can help focus creativity and allow you to explore new perspectives– which often sparks your ability to create something fresh and exciting. Regular breaks are also essential since the producer’s block tends to feed off physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.
Regular short breaks (I like 7 minutes but can be OCD) ensure that any idea has sufficient time to take shape in your idea-maker without feeling too overwhelmed.
Trying these techniques could be just the thing you need to break producer’s block and get back on track with your project!
Other ideas: experimenting with different formats, finding new sources of inspiration, and switching up your technology toolbox are all great places to start. One great way to tackle video producer’s block is to think of your project like a Rubik’s Cube – what would the creative look like if you changed one part?
What would it look like as a documentary if it were a commercial?
What if you made it into more of a branded entertainment piece? What if it became driven by text versus voiceover?
What if music drove the entire piece? What if you incorporated famous talent?
Just break down the creative into several parts—weigh the pros and cons of different approaches, and then give rewards for completing them individually. If you’re still stuck, watch some highly-ranked videos on YouTube.
It doesn’t have to be related to your creativity because the best ideas come from connecting the dots from things you like to your brand.
How do these videos make you feel?
Use those nuggets to push your project forward. Last, how does the creative change with technology? Can you make it immersive or interactive in some way? How does that elevate your idea? Each video production job requires something new from its creator, so try out some of the various techniques until you find out what works best for you.
As a producer or creative directors, we know that issues arise daily. It’s inevitable. While it can be hard to stay on track when confronted with never-ending problems, reaching out and getting help where possible is essential.
As producers, we’re often problem solvers and are fiercely independent. But I’ve found the best solutions come from simply reaching out and connecting with fellow producers having similar experiences.
Knowing how advantageous it is to connect with others riding the same wave helps motivate me to reach out more often.
It’s ok. You can’t know it all; you control freak. Reach out and share your experiences with other producers – you never know what you might learn.
If you’re a video producer struggling with writer’s block, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Defining the problem and understanding its causes are the first steps to overcoming it.
Once you know what to look out for, there are many different techniques you can try out to get your creative juices flowing again. Experiment with different techniques and see what works best for you. And finally, don’t forget to share your experiences with other producers who might be going through the same thing.
Scenic Road is here for you if you need help with ideas for video content, video production, from pre-production to post-production. Contact us today to learn more about our services.
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