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How to Use Keywords to Pick the Perfect People, Places, & Plot

By April 19, 2013Storytelling

How Keywords can change everything…

Today, Part 2 of our four part Storytelling series for Vimeo Video School launches! (If you missed Part 1, check out The 4 P’s of Storytelling here.)

Here’s a quick breakdown of the video:

  • 00:39 — Our Discovery process – where we research out topic and do our initial walkthrough.
  • 01:50 — How to use research to brainstorm 5 keywords that will guide every other decision you make going forward.
  • 02:33 — Keyword examples from Jess & Brian’s wedding feature.
  • 03:15 — Keyword examples from I’m Fine, Thanks documentary.
  • 04:01 — Keyword examples from Pulse, our feature on BioBeats.
  • 05:20 — Conducting pre-interviews to finalize which people will add the most to our story.
  • 06:53 — Case study on Kelly Moore’s adoption story – how we used pre-interviews to choose characters.
  • 07:47 — How to scout your places to finalize which locations will add to your film.
  • 09:15 — Case study of Old Skool Cafe – where we choose to film our main interview (and why).
  • 10:08 — Brainstorming beginning, middle, and ends that will eventually make up your plot.
  • 11:05 — Case study of AT&T: My Journey campaign – how we created tension and chose our journey.
  • 11:38 — Summary of importance of keywords and what’s coming in the next tutorial.

This video details, with example, one of the most important factors that helps us tell unique, compelling stories.

It may seem like a lot of work up front – and it is – but it pays off big time (as you’ll start to see in the next videos).

Parts 3 and 4 coming next week!…

Remember, at the end of the series, we’ll be combining forces with Vimeo to issue a community wide challenge to YOU.

We’ll have two more videos next week, and the challenge starts next Friday.

Cinevate and With Etiquette are both pitching in thousands in overall prizes – and we’ll be publishing additional worksheets to help you through the process.

It’s going to be amazing!


Have you ever used Keywords to help guide your decision making process?

Do you take the time to do pre-interviews, scouting, and brainstorming your plot before hand?

Let us know what you think about Part Two!


About Stillmotion


  • Nerinna says:

    Awesome!!!…and thanks for breaking it down!…….BUT…you only gave me fives seconds (5:01) to write down my keywords….lol

  • Антон says:

    StillMotion, thank you for what you are doing.
    Greetings from Russia.
    Спасибо :)

  • Robert says:

    Thanks for these – they are sooo helpful – very much appreciated. Best wishes – looking forward to the next

  • steve capture youir moments says:


  • Mark says:

    I’m about to begin shooting a spec commercial, these techniques I will utilize. They are perfect! Thank you.

  • MIchael says:

    Great piece guys. I haven’t put much effort into getting to know anyone other than the bride or groom before the wedding. That is a great idea and I am looking forward to using more of it this summer!

  • Daniel says:

    I’m loving these videos and i fully understand the importance of pre production. I’m desperately trying to find a way to break the monotenous mold of my wedding films but I’m struggling to equate here what you are saying to the wedding days as I perceive them. You talk about location selection and characters etc but is this with regards to the actual wedding day or does this happen more in the events leading upto the occasion. I’m finding at the moment that my films are (as you said previously) being led by my music and I’m wasting unnecessary time on scenes to simply fill out the score because its what iv led myself to believe my couples want. This latest series of videos has definitely encouraged to me to shake up my game so thanks for your continued education and keep up the good work!

    • Joyce says:

      Hey Daniel,

      This applies to both the events leading up to a wedding day as well as the wedding day itself. You may ask how that is possible when the locations are pre-selected by the couple or it’s the couples wedding, but we challenge you to constantly evaluate what is best for story. It can be a change in location, it can be a change in where they are within that location or where you shoot from. Characters on a wedding day can be anything from the couple to pets to family to the location itself. All your decisions in what and how you cover an event factors into how you can make the most of the situation to further the story.

      We didn’t always do this but when we realized how huge of a difference it made it changed everything :)


  • Shannon says:

    Great stuff! I attended one of your workshops in Portland last year, I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in film/video production.

  • Tommi says:

    Interesting approach! I guess keywords also could improve team communication during the pre-production. I’m spending more and more time on pre-production, since that usually means less time in shooting and post. Thank you for sharing!

  • hamid says:

    thanks ”
    waiting for parts 3 & 4 …
    and the competition …
    and … o-)

  • Dorlisa says:

    Thanks so much for these tutorials, they are really helping me focus and define my story.

  • Yves says:

    Refreshing, useful, beautiful and passionate…I love your philosophy, I am trying to apply the things you share as much as I can (not always easy with some clients) I have been doing this job for 10 years now and it’s like all the things that I “felt” right are written on paper. Thank you.

    • Joyce says:

      Yep it can sometimes be a challenge but we find that when you put story first, people generally are more open to hearing you out. Rock on!


  • David Hood says:

    The interesting thing about this topics is that the tips on picking keywords for videos can also be used in writing articles. Moving videos and moving stories are some of the ingredients for viral videos and viral content.

  • Thanks, perfect timing as I’m just helping a client who is trying to identify their relevant keywords, not for PPC, but for defining and finding where their target audience resides on the internet!!

  • Keywords say a million words! They really do. It pays off to target the correct keywords for what you are advertising. Thank you!