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6 Rules for an Effective Video Brainstorm

looping gif for video production brainstorm with question mark

If you haven’t heard, brainstorming is a really important part of the video process. It determines the framework, tone, and strategy for our videos. That’s why it’s critical that the team gets on the same page and stays focused, yet creative enough, to accomplish the task at hand.

Over the years, we’ve noticed that some brainstorming scenarios created better results than others. By analyzing those commonalities we felt we had a strong grasp on the type of video brainstorming process that worked best (for us at least). So we set up a few rules to make sure every Demo Duck brainstorm is a home run. Here they are!

1. Prep the team

No one on your team should enter the brainstorm without at least a little bit of knowledge on the goal(s) and strategy behind the explainer video.

video production brainstorm by Demo Duck

Make sure you distribute a project brief of some kind to anyone attending the brainstorm so no one’s playing catch up. This will allow you to quickly recap the scope of the project at the beginning of the brainstorm and get to the creative ideas faster.

2. Put someone in charge

It’s important to designate a brainstorm leader who’s in charge of keeping the ball rolling, recording ideas, and knowing when it’s time to move on. This isn’t someone who rules with an iron first, but rather nudges the crew along when things get stalled, sidetracked, or spin off the rails completely.

By clearly establishing who this person is beforehand, the rest of the group can also focus on letting their biggest business video ideas flow rather than keeping the house in order.

3. Bring an idea

Everyone–yes everyone–is responsible for bringing at least one idea to the table. This can be a fully baked concept idea, a raw visual effect, an animated metaphor, a hook, a character, a live action parody, or even a shot-by-shot remake of Jurassic Park.

Demo Duck creative video production

It’s a lot easier to get everyone involved if the whole team has something to contribute from the start. Even if you only have a few words for your “idea” that may be enough to spark the creativity of someone else who can make it grow into a keeper.

4. Sacrifice your idea

Once you share your idea with the group, let it spread its wings and fly. Give up ownership and trust the group to make it better, …or in some cases kill it entirely.

We’ve found that when someone becomes too attached to an idea, they limit its true potential. This is often one of the most difficult rules to follow because a corporate video idea seems so clear in your head that you don’t want it to get “ruined” by someone else.

It’s okay to state your full vision of the idea, but you need to let it play out naturally during the brainstorm.

Give up ownership [of your idea] and trust the group to make it better.

5. Record the ideas

This seems like a no-brainer in a brainstorm, but it’s important to plan out how you’ll get everything down in rapid fire. Sometimes a few ideas come out at once or take vastly different routes from their inception- so proper notation is vital.

video production brainstorm by Demo Duck

Someone, or a few people, need to be actively listening and scribbling those amazing business video ideas down as quickly as they come out. We use giant post-it notes and big chunky markers, so everyone can easily see all the ideas that have been shared.

If you want to get even fancier, check out these Visual Brainstorming Techniques by creately, including editable templates to help you generate ideas through drawing, writing and diagramming.

6. Unplug

It’s crucial to stay focused on the task at hand during brainstorming. Since it’s so early in the video production process, the work done in this session will determine the next few weeks of work.

All you really need during your brainstorm is a notebook with your ideas in it and a pen. So no phones, unless you’re the timekeeper. And be sure to step away from your inbox for awhile….you may even find that you like the tech-free time.


It may feel counterintuitive to institute hard-and-fast rules for such a creative process, but our best business videos started with an efficient brainstorming process. One that encourages sharing, spurs colorful conversations, and moves along appropriately.

Do you have some brainstorming rules that you find to be most effective? Let us know what your brainstorming process looks like in the comments or tweet them at us!

Itching to learn more about video? Here are other great posts:

How 6 Industries Got Creative with Their Video Strategy
5 Techniques (and Videos) That Spice Up Boring Subjects
The Ultimate Battle: Live Action vs. Animation

Written by Kelsie Ozamiz
Kelsie is a Creative Lead at Demo Duck, a Chicago-based video production company. She owns too many fanny packs. She asks that her friends and family stop buying her fanny packs. Follow Demo Duck on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.