Ideation, Iteration, and the Final Concept - Austin Louis, TEDx, sketchnotes, sketchnote video, verbal to visual

Executing On Your Ideas (TEDxMtHood Videos Part 3)

This is a guest post by Austin Louis on creating sketchnote videos for a TEDx event in Portland, Oregon. Read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

I love the final stages of a project. It’s electrifying!

This is when all the planning and testing and iteration come together. This is where all the hours spent on a project accumulate into a tangible product for the world to see. This is where all the magic happens. And, ultimately, this is where execution happens.

Last week I talked about iteration – but this week it’s all about execution.

TEDxMtHood Logo Sketchnote - Austin Louis, TEDx, sketchnotes, sketchnote video, verbal to visual

But first, I needed to prepare. I needed to create all the materials for shooting – a total of 12 individually hand-written speaker title slides and one master TEDx slide. I didn’t have a system in place for making these look high-quality and professional, so I started freestyling, made many, many mistakes, and added more structure as I learned from these mistakes.  

Some of the structures that I added helped with layout, like cutting out a rectangle from another piece of paper and using that as a template for the allowable area to work within. Others helped with scale and placement, like typing out the name and talk title on a word document as a reference for how I’d like my slides to look.   

TEDxMtHood Frame - Austin Louis, TEDx, sketchnotes, sketchnote video, verbal to visual

Altogether, creating the slides took me about 2-3 hours. The first few slides were frustrating, but once I created a system, the rest of the slides flew by.

We then moved on to filming. We lit all 13 slides on fire one after another, filming them all in a concrete basement stairwell.

TEDxMtHood Sketchnote Video - Austin Louis, TEDx, sketchnotes, sketchnote video, verbal to visual

Once everything was filmed, we brought it all into an editing software. A classmate at Wayfinding Academy (thanks Peter!) provided us with some awesome music for each video to give each one a unique feel.

And just like that, our work here was done! Success!

Want to see how the videos turned out? Check out a recap of the event above!

I love this moment. I love it so much that I often overlook the journey of arriving at this point. Not this time, though. Let’s look back.

My Process

Looking back on this journey provides an opportunity for insight. There’s much to be learned when a project is done. So I reflected on the journey to this point by sketching out my project process.

It turns out my process looks a little like this:

Ideation, Iteration, and the Final Concept - Austin Louis, TEDx, sketchnotes, sketchnote video, verbal to visual

First, I start off with the ideation stage, where something sparks my interest and an idea is born – the TEDx planning team asking for intro videos.

Next, I move to the iteration stage, where I start to think, plan, and test multiple concepts – crumpling up and unfolding a piece of paper, lighting it on fire in my hand, lighting it on fire on the wall.

From these concepts, I take what works and leave what doesn’t until my concepts are distilled into one final concept that has been tested – lighting a piece of paper slightly above the ground.

I take this concept and I enter into the final stage, preparing – creating the final slides – and then executing – filming, editing, and adding music.

The project is then complete and I move on to reflection, where insights are gleaned – project process – and then the cycle is repeated – I’m starting a new project next week in which I’ll be using what I’ve learned.

Your Turn

Now that you’ve seen my process, I’d love to hear from you about yours and learn more from all of you.

How could you use this process? Does your project process look different? Maybe we all have similar processes with some small unique differences? Drop me a line here to let me know what you think.

Thanks for all of your support so far with these projects. It means a lot to me. Until next week.

– Austin


Want To Dig Deeper?

If you’re new to the idea of sketchnoting and excited to develop more visual thinking tools, I think you’d enjoy our foundational course An Introduction To Visual Note-Taking.

If you’d like to make sketchnoted videos like the one you saw here, we’ve got a course for that too! Check out How To Make Sketchnote Videos.

If you’re an educator interested in bringing visual note-taking into your classroom, check out Sketchnoting In The Classroom.

And if you want to create new personal and professional opportunities by sharing the authentic journey of your skill development online, check out Learn In Public.