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How to Write a Video Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide and Tips

  • by Joseph Kenas
  • January 5, 2024
  • Writing Tips

How-to-write-a-video-essay

The video essay has become an increasingly popular way of presenting ideas and concepts in the age of the internet and YouTube. In this guide, we present a step-by-step guide on how to write a video essay and tips on how to make it.

While it is easy to write a normal essay, the structure of the video essay is a bit of a mystery, owing to the newness of the term.

However, in this article, we are going to define what is a video essay, how to write a video essay, and also How to present a video essay well in class.

What is a Video Essay?

A video essay is a video that delves into a certain subject, concept, person, or thesis. Video essays are difficult to characterize because they are a relatively new form, yet they are recognized regardless. Simply, video essays are visual compilations that try to persuade, educate, or criticize.

What is a video essay?

These days, there are many creatives making video essays on topics like politics, music, movies, and pop culture.

With these, essays have become increasingly popular in the era of video media such as Youtube, Vimeo, and others.

Video essays, like photo and traditional essays, tell a story or make a point.

The distinction is that video essays provide information through visuals.

When creating a video essay, you can incorporate video, images, text, music, and/or narration to make it dynamic and successful.

When you consider it, many music videos are actually video essays. 

Since making videos for YouTube and other video sites has grown so popular, many professors are now assigning video essays instead of regular essays to their students. So the question is, how do you write a video essay script?

Steps on How to Write a Video Essay Script

Unscripted videos cost time, effort, and are unpleasant to watch. The first thing you should do before making a video writes a script, even if it’s only a few lines long. Don’t be intimidated by the prospect of writing a script. All you need is a starting point.

A video script is important for anyone who wants to film a video with more confidence and clarity. They all contain comparable forms of information, such as who is speaking, what is said, where, and other important details.

While there are no precise criteria that a video essay must follow, it appears that most renowned video essayists are adhering to some steps as the form gets more popular and acknowledged online. 

1. Write a Thesis

Because a video essayist can handle a wide range of themes, video analysis essays lack defined bounds. The majority of essays, on the other hand, begin with a thesis.

A thesis is a statement, claim, theme, or concept that the rest of the essay is built around. A thesis might be broad, including a variety of art forms. Other theses can be quite detailed.

A good essay will almost always have a point to express. Every video analysis essay should have a central idea, or thesis, that ties the film together.

2. Write a Summary

Starting with a brief allows you and your team to document the answers to the most pressing project concerns. It ensures that everyone participating in the video production is on the same page.

This will avoid problems of mixing ideas or getting stuck when you are almost completing the project.

3. Choose a Proper Environment and Appropriate Tools

When it comes to writing your script, use any tool you’re familiar with, such as pen and paper. Also, find a writing atmosphere that is relaxing for you, where you can concentrate and be creative.

Consider what you don’t have to express out loud when you’re writing. Visual elements will be used to communicate a large portion of your content.

4. Use a Template

When you don’t have to reinvent the process every time you sit down, you get speed and consistency.

It’s using your cumulative knowledge of what works and doing it over and over again. Don’t start with a blank page when I sit down to create a script- try to use an already made template. 

5. Be Conversational

You want scripts that use language that is specific and targeted. Always avoid buzzwords, cliches, and generalizations. You want your audience to comprehend you clearly without rolling their eyes.

6. Be Narrative

Make careful to use a strong story structure when you’re trying to explain anything clearly. Ensure your script has a beginning, middle, and end, no matter how short it is. This will provide a familiar path for the viewers of your video script.

7. Edit Your Script

Make each word work for a certain position on the page when you choose your words.

script editing

They must serve a purpose.

After you’ve completed your first draft, go over your script and review it.

Then begin editing, reordering, and trimming. Remove as much as possible.

Consider cutting it if it isn’t helping you achieve your goal.

 8. Read Your Script Loudly

Before recording or going on in your process, it’s recommended to read your script aloud at least once. Even if you won’t be the one reading it, this is a good method to ensure that your message is clear. It’s a good idea to be away from people so you may practice in peace.

Words that flow well on paper don’t always flow well when spoken aloud. You might need to make some adjustments based on how tough certain phrases are to pronounce- it’s a lot easier to change it now than when recording.

9. Get Feedback

Sometimes it is very difficult to point out your mistakes in any piece of writing. Therefore, if you want a perfect video essay script, it is advisable to seek feedback from people who are not involved in the project.

Keep in mind that many will try to tear your work apart and make you feel incompetent. However, it can also be an opportunity to make your video better.

The best way to gather feedback is to assemble a group of people and read your script to them. Watch their facial reaction and jot own comments as you read. Make sure not to defend your decisions. Only listen to comments and ask questions to clarify.

After gathering feedback, decide on what points to include in your video essay. Also, you can ask someone else to read it to you so that you can listen to its follow.

A video essay can be a good mode to present all types of essays, especially compare and contrast essays as you can visually contrast the two subjects of your content.

How to make a Good Video from your Essay Script

You can make a good video from your script if you ask yourself the following questions;

MAKE YOUR VIDEO GOOD

  • What is the video’s purpose? What is the purpose of the video in the first place?
  • Who is this video’s intended audience?
  • What is the subject of our video? (The more precise you can be, the better.) 
  • What are the most important points to remember from the video?- What should viewers take away from it?

If the context had multiple characters, present their dialogues well in the essay to bring originality. If there is a need to involve another person, feel free to incorporate them.

How to Present a Video Essay Well in Class

  • Write down keywords or main ideas in a notecard; do not write details- writing main ideas will help you remember your points when presenting. This helps you scan through your notecard for information.
  • Practice- in presentations it is easy to tell who has practiced and who hasn’t. For your video essay to grab your class and professor’s attention, practice is the key. Practice in front of your friends and family asking for feedback and try to improve.
  • Smile at your audience- this is one of the most important points when presenting anything in front of an audience. A smiley face draws the attention of the audience making them smile in return thus giving you confidence.
  • Walk to your seat with a smile- try not to be disappointed even if you are not applauded. Be confident that you have aced your video presentation.

Other video presentations tips include;

  • Making eye contact
  • Have a good posture
  • Do not argue with the audience 
  • Look at everyone around the room, not just one audience or one spot
  • Rember to use your hand and facial expressions to make a point.

how to start an essay about a video

Joseph is a freelance journalist and a part-time writer with a particular interest in the gig economy. He writes about schooling, college life, and changing trends in education. When not writing, Joseph is hiking or playing chess.

What is a Video Essay - Best Video Essays Film of 2020 - Top Movie Video Essay

  • Scriptwriting

What is a Video Essay? The Art of the Video Analysis Essay

I n the era of the internet and Youtube, the video essay has become an increasingly popular means of expressing ideas and concepts. However, there is a bit of an enigma behind the construction of the video essay largely due to the vagueness of the term.

What defines a video analysis essay? What is a video essay supposed to be about? In this article, we’ll take a look at the foundation of these videos and the various ways writers and editors use them creatively. Let’s dive in.

Watch: Our Best Film Video Essays of the Year

Subscribe for more filmmaking videos like this.

What is a video essay?

First, let’s define video essay.

There is narrative film, documentary film, short films, and then there is the video essay. What is its role within the realm of visual media? Let’s begin with the video essay definition. 

VIDEO ESSAY DEFINITION

A video essay is a video that analyzes a specific topic, theme, person or thesis. Because video essays are a rather new form, they can be difficult to define, but recognizable nonetheless. To put it simply, they are essays in video form that aim to persuade, educate, or critique. 

These essays have become increasingly popular within the era of Youtube and with many creatives writing video essays on topics such as politics, music, film, and pop culture. 

What is a video essay used for?

  • To persuade an audience of a thesis
  • To educate on a specific subject
  • To analyze and/or critique 

What is a video essay based on?

Establish a thesis.

Video analysis essays lack distinguished boundaries since there are countless topics a video essayist can tackle. Most essays, however, begin with a thesis. 

How Christopher Nolan Elevates the Movie Montage  •  Video Analysis Essays

Good essays often have a point to make. This point, or thesis, should be at the heart of every video analysis essay and is what binds the video together. 

Related Posts

  • Stanley Kubrick Directing Style Explained →
  • A Filmmaker’s Guide to Nolan’s Directing Style →
  • How to Write a Voice Over Montage in a Script →

interviews in video essay

Utilize interviews.

A key determinant for the structure of an essay is the source of the ideas. A common source for this are interviews from experts in the field. These interviews can be cut and rearranged to support a thesis. 

Roger Deakins on "Learning to Light"  •  Video Analysis Essays

Utilizing first hand interviews is a great way to utilize ethos into the rhetoric of a video. However, it can be limiting since you are given a limited amount to work with. Voice over scripts, however, can give you the room to say anything. 

How to create the best video essays on Youtube

Write voice over scripts.

Voice over (VO) scripts allow video essayists to write out exactly what they want to say. This is one of the most common ways to structure a video analysis essay since it gives more freedom to the writer. It is also a great technique to use when taking on large topics.

In this video, it would have been difficult to explain every type of camera lens by cutting sound bites from interviews of filmmakers. A voice over script, on the other hand, allowed us to communicate information directly when and where we wanted to.

Ultimate Guide to Camera Lenses  •  Video essay examples

Some of the most famous video essayists like Every Frame a Painting and Nerdwriter1 utilize voice over to capitalize on their strength in writing video analysis essays. However, if you’re more of an editor than a writer, the next type of essay will be more up your alley. 

Video analysis essay without a script

Edit a supercut.

Rather than leaning on interview sound bites or voice over, the supercut video depends more on editing. You might be thinking “What is a video essay without writing?” The beauty of the video essay is that the writing can be done throughout the editing. Supercuts create arguments or themes visually through specific sequences. 

Another one of the great video essay channels, Screen Junkies, put together a supercut of the last decade in cinema. The video could be called a portrait of the last decade in cinema.

2010 - 2019: A Decade In Film  •  Best videos on Youtube

This video is rather general as it visually establishes the theme of art during a general time period. Other essays can be much more specific. 

Critical essays

Video essays are a uniquely effective means of creating an argument. This is especially true in critical essays. This type of video critiques the facets of a specific topic. 

In this video, by one of the best video essay channels, Every Frame a Painting, the topic of the film score is analyzed and critiqued — specifically temp film score.

Every Frame a Painting Marvel Symphonic Universe  •  Essay examples

Of course, not all essays critique the work of artists. Persuasion of an opinion is only one way to use the video form. Another popular use is to educate. 

  • The Different Types of Camera Lenses →
  • Write and Create Professionally Formatted Screenplays →
  • How to Create Unforgettable Film Moments with Music →

Video analysis essay

Visual analysis.

One of the biggest advantages that video analysis essays have over traditional, written essays is the use of visuals. The use of visuals has allowed video essayists to display the subject or work that they are analyzing. It has also allowed them to be more specific with what they are analyzing. Writing video essays entails structuring both words and visuals. 

Take this video on There Will Be Blood for example. In a traditional, written essay, the writer would have had to first explain what occurs in the film then make their analysis and repeat.

This can be extremely inefficient and redundant. By analyzing the scene through a video, the points and lessons are much more clear and efficient. 

There Will Be Blood  •   Subscribe on YouTube

Through these video analysis essays, the scene of a film becomes support for a claim rather than the topic of the essay. 

Dissect an artist

Essays that focus on analysis do not always focus on a work of art. Oftentimes, they focus on the artist themself. In this type of essay, a thesis is typically made about an artist’s style or approach. The work of that artist is then used to support this thesis.

Nerdwriter1, one of the best video essays on Youtube, creates this type to analyze filmmakers, actors, photographers or in this case, iconic painters. 

Caravaggio: Master Of Light  •  Best video essays on YouTube

In the world of film, the artist video analysis essay tends to cover auteur filmmakers. Auteur filmmakers tend to have distinct styles and repetitive techniques that many filmmakers learn from and use in their own work. 

Stanley Kubrick is perhaps the most notable example. In this video, we analyze Kubrick’s best films and the techniques he uses that make so many of us drawn to his films. 

Why We're Obsessed with Stanley Kubrick Movies  •  Video essay examples

Critical essays and analytical essays choose to focus on a piece of work or an artist. Essays that aim to educate, however, draw on various sources to teach technique and the purpose behind those techniques. 

What is a video essay written about?

Historical analysis.

Another popular type of essay is historical analysis. Video analysis essays are a great medium to analyze the history of a specific topic. They are an opportunity for essayists to share their research as well as their opinion on history. 

Our video on aspect ratio , for example, analyzes how aspect ratios began in cinema and how they continue to evolve. We also make and support the claim that the 2:1 aspect ratio is becoming increasingly popular among filmmakers. 

Why More Directors are Switching to 18:9  •  Video analysis essay

Analyzing the work of great artists inherently yields a lesson to be learned. Some essays teach more directly.

  • Types of Camera Movements in Film Explained →
  • What is Aspect Ratio? A Formula for Framing Success →
  • Visualize your scenes with intuitive online shotlist software →

Writing video essays about technique

Teach technique.

Educational essays designed to teach are typically more direct. They tend to be more valuable for those looking to create art rather than solely analyze it.

In this video, we explain every type of camera movement and the storytelling value of each. Educational essays must be based on research, evidence, and facts rather than opinion.

Ultimate Guide to Camera Movement  •  Best video essays on YouTube

As you can see, there are many reasons why the video essay has become an increasingly popular means of communicating information. Its ability to use both sound and picture makes it efficient and effective. It also draws on the language of filmmaking to express ideas through editing. But it also gives writers the creative freedom they love. 

Writing video essays is a new art form that many channels have set high standards for. What is a video essay supposed to be about? That’s up to you. 

Organize Post Production Workflow

The quality of an essay largely depends on the quality of the edit. If editing is not your strong suit, check out our next article. We dive into tips and techniques that will help you organize your Post-Production workflow to edit like a pro. 

Up Next: Post Production →

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The Video Essay As Art: 11 Ways to Make a Video Essay

Part one in a series of commissioned pieces on video essay form, originally published at Fandor Keyframe.

This feature piece, the first in an ongoing series, was originally published by Fandor Keyframe in May 2016. You can read the other pieces in this series here .

When you think of the video essay, you might imagine someone expressing their love of a movie over a selection of clips, a compilation of a famous director’s signature shots, or a voice that says: “Hi, my name is Tony.” But these are just a few of a remarkable variety of approaches to making videos exploring film and media, a diversity of forms that is continually evolving and expanding. Here’s an attempt to account for some of the more recognizable modes of video essay, with key examples for each.

Supercut . A collection of images or sounds arranged under a category (i.e. Jacob T. Swinney’s wonderful The Dutch Angle ) or used to break down a film to a set of elements (i.e. Zackery Ramos-Taylor’s recent Hearing Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Joel Bocko’s The Colors of Daisies ). The supercut is usually very short and lacks text so as to maximize its impact on a visual level. This brevity of form emphasizes a central concept more than a narrative argument. If a supercut has an argument to make, it is typically in the order in which items are sequenced.

Personal Review . This broad category of video essay hinges on a strongly personalized account of a film. Scout Tafoya’s recurring series The Unloved is a prominent example of this, wherein he makes the claim that each film he focuses on is underappreciated and then asserts their qualities through visual analysis. The best of these, in my opinion, is his video on Michael Mann’s Public Enemies :

Vlog . While similar to the personal review, the vlog differs strongly in mode of presentation. There is a greater focus on direct address of the viewers, and on delivering opinion rather than analysis. They’re often played up for comedic entertainment value and feature a lot of voiceover or footage of the editor themselves. Chez Lindsay’s video on Joel Schumacher’s The Phantom of the Opera is a sprawling, informative, funny journey through theater and cinema history that in many respects encompasses elements of the video essay but first and foremost is grounded in a personal perspective. Outside of film, the work Jon Bois does at SB Nation in his series Pretty Good would also fall under this category (his latest, on character types in 24 , is very much worth the watch). The popular YouTube series CinemaSins would also fall under this category, which relies moreso on personal nit-picking than film analysis.

Scene Breakdown . A visually-driven close reading of a scene (or many scenes in one film) that leans heavily on explaining film form and technique. Tony Zhou is especially skilled at this, and his scene breakdowns often come nestled in a video about many scenes, like his look at ensemble staging in Bong Joon-ho’s Memories of Murder or the approach to staging a fight scene in his video Jackie Chan—How to Do Action Comedy :

Shot Analysis . A cousin of the supercut and scene breakdown, though more analytical in nature than the former, the shot analysis dissects a shot or a repeated type of shot. Josh Forrest’s engaging video on the insert shot in David Fincher’s Zodiac is not shot analysis in and of itself; it’s more of a supercut. David Chen’s Edgar Wright and the Art of Close-Ups , on the other hand, is definitely a shot analysis, turning its compilation structure into a video essay by virtue of its director’s commentary track (which we might call the DVD-era ancestor of the video essay):

Structural Analysis . To paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut, these videos look at a film’s story shape, seeking to uncover hidden meaning or a subtextual emphasis by viewing the film as a collection of scenes rather than necessarily a plot or narrative. Kevin B. Lee’s Between the Lines: THE DAY HE ARRIVES is one of the best videos in this field, comparing repeated scenes in Hong Sang-soo’s film to reveal the film’s playful interpretation of time passing. One of my video essays for Fandor last year, Containing the Madness: George A. Romero’s THE CRAZIES , was an attempt to engage with this mode of video essay:

Side-by-side Analysis . Not a supercut, not yet a shot analysis. The side-by-side is a fascinating form of the video essay pushed by essayists like Cristina Álvarez Lopez, Catherine Grant ( All That Pastiche Allows ) and, in recent months, Davide Rapp, which finds meaning through visual comparison of two or more film clips in real-time. In What is Neorealism? , kogonada brilliantly employs the side-by-side comparison to reflect on the ideological and creative differences between Vittorio de Sica and David O. Selznick in the cutting of the same picture.

Side-by-sides with voiceover narration are relatively rare. Álvarez, Grant and Rapp tend to let viewers interpret the footage on their own. Rapp’s series of videos under the Seeing Double and Seeing Triple moniker place sequences from films and their various remakes side-by-side and implicitly address not only specific but generational aesthetic and narrative priorities. A particularly illuminating video in this collection is his look at Michael Haneke’s two versions of Funny Games :

Recut . The line between video essay and video art is blurred when we look at the imaginative re-purposing of texts. Filmscalpel’s 12 Silent Men is a good example of this, which was shared as a video essay despite being very similar in form to Vicki Bennett’s work of video art, 4:33: The Movie . Davide Rapp’s enchanting SECRET GATEWAYS (below), where he maps the space of a house in a Buster Keaton short and then moves his virtual camera between each of these rooms, is a more visually-focused re-purposing. I’d count my video essay, The Secret Video Essays of Jenni Olson , as also being a part of this form. It’s worth noting that an imaginative recut does not need to be visual, it can also be conceptual, as in Jeremy Ratzlaff’s Paul Thomas Anderson: A Chronological Timeline . This recut concept also extends to re-purposed marketing materials or film trailers, as seen in The Maze of Susan Lowell by Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin, which suggests an alternate cut of The Big Combo with Susan as the protagonist. The very popular YouTube series Honest Trailers would also fall into the category of the recut, as they mimic and parody film trailer form, though their comedic narration-as-criticism does blur the line even more.

Subject Essay . These videos typically tell a story to explore a filmmaker’s (or actor’s, cinematographer’s, etc.) body of work, an era of filmmaking or a recurring motif in a lot of films, incorporating elements of scene, shot and thematic analysis. For the most part, the better videos in this field seek to educate or inform the viewer about a relatively unknown body of work or period of time. In this vein they teeter on the edge of conventional documentary cinema, like Kevin B. Lee’s Bruce Lee, Before and After the Dragon , and are reminiscent of some of the essay films of Mark Rappaport (whose body of work in and of itself defies easy genre labels). An unconventional example of this, and one of the best video essays of 2015, is Tony Zhou’s Vancouver Never Plays Itself . Another unconventional example, and one which straddles the modes of supercut and shot analysis, is Rishi Kaneria’s brilliant Why Props Matter .

Academic Supplement . When Kevin B. Lee made his refractive video essay What Makes a Video Essay Great? back in 2014, he used an excerpt from Thomas van den Berg’s Reliable Unreliability vs Unreliable Reliability or, Perceptual Subversions of the Continuity Editing System , a chiefly academic piece of video criticism that runs for over half an hour, features lecture-like narration and is grounded in academic and theoretical concepts of cinema. While this video does stand on its own as analysis, when I say supplement I mean that it is supplemental to the academic form. Some of the video works from David Bordwell, which he has termed video lectures, are examples of this form, in spite of what they have in common with shot analysis and filmic survey (in particular, his Constructive Editing in Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket ). Catherine Grant, another academic working in the realm of video essays, has managed to often subvert this expectation that academics making video essays will make supplementary works, turning in some wonderfully imaginative and non-academic videos like her brilliant UN/CONTAINED .

Desktop Video . A recent mode of video arguably born from the metatextual work of Harun Farocki ( Interface in particular), this seeks to present an argument about film within the confines of a computer screen. It’s worth noting that while the visual experience is tethered to a screen, like the recent horror flick Unfriended, it’s often not actually a real-time one-take desktop journey. The defining film in this field (arguably moving beyond the video essay label to become an experimental documentary in its own right) is Kevin B. Lee’s Transformers: The Premake :

As you can see from the various definitions above, the problem with all of these videos standing under the umbrella category of the video essay is that they’re all trying to do different things and aiming for different audiences. Because of this, when any two practitioners talk about what they like in video essays, they may be talking about very different things, not just in terms of content but in what they think the purposes of these videos are. Earlier this month Filmmaker Magazine posted a series of responses to the question What is a Video Essay? and answers ranged from a tool to stimulate better film viewing to a new form of essay filmmaking; and from a means of expressing cinephile obsession to a means of critiquing that same obsession.

On the other hand, what’s certain is that these videos, in their multitude of forms, have become very popular online over the last few years. There are many communities forming in the world of video essays, not just within publishing sites like the one you’re visiting now, but also in the “schools” of approaches taken by like-minded video makers. The mostly straightforward film-analysis approach is a favorite among very popular YouTubers. The academic-minded teaching aide is championed by the online journal [in]Transition. The personal love letter to cinema arises in supercuts and most single-film videos. The miniature essay film floats in and out of categorization, making it one of the most interesting forms of video essay.

Here at Keyframe I’ll be writing about various approaches to the video essay, looking at a wide variety of videos and video essayists and speaking to curators and editors to try to understand just how we got to where we are now. I’ll explore questions such as: why do some supercuts work better than others; when and when not to use voiceover and much more. Join us, won’t you?

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Home Resources Free Guides Video Essays Guide Introduction to Video Essays

VIDEO ESSAYS GUIDE

Introductory guide to video essays, introduction to video essays, studying and researching film through film, “if it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed” – stanley kubrick, "...why can filmmaking, film curation, and film criticism not co-exist” – lindiwe dovey.

Drawing on the inspiring work of pioneering educators and researchers engaging with this creative method, this guide aims to offer a research-led introduction for students, teachers and researchers approaching the video essay for the first time.

From 2014, with the foundation of [in]Transition, the first online, open access, peer-reviewed journal of videographic film and moving image studies, an increasing number of academic journals have been welcoming video essays. However, the written word remains the dominant language to disseminate scholarly work, with shared conventions in terms of register, structure and length. In contrast, a glimpse at the range of published video essays evidences the diversity of approaches. While this may be a great opportunity for innovation and creativity, it also presents challenges. How to make video essays? What are their pedagogical benefits, as compared to written papers? What are the technological expectations? How to design assessment briefs to ensure they are equivalent to written papers? Is such equivalence relevant? If the approaches are so varied, what are the criteria of evaluation? What are the copyright issues, if any, when reusing creative work for the purpose of making an argument, audiovisually? And, more importantly, where to start?

Video essays are scholarly videos that invite researchers and class members to explore the audiovisual and multimedia language to make an academic argument. When applied to film research and pedagogy, the video essay is thus a recursive text. That is, the object of study, film, is mediated, or rather, performed, through the film medium. This is a kind of academic piece that encourages creativity, but more importantly, action. As such, video essays have a transformative dimension. When used in the classroom, for instance, as creative assessment methods, they foster a collaborative environment where teachers and students - that is, class members - are co-producers of knowledge, informed by different positionalities. Video essays can thus contribute to a kind of education that Paulo Friere (2018[1978]: 80-81) referred to as the “problem-posing education”, as “the practice of freedom”. This contrasts with the “banking” or “digestive” education as the practice of domination, where students are mere passive recipients of the knowledge transferred from tutors. As universities seek to decolonise the curriculum, video essays seem as pertinent as ever to foster active, creative and critical modes of learning, based on thinking through making. However, the experimental potential in video essays also leads to a certain degree of uncertainty to all class members and eager researchers who would like to venture into this creative arena of knowledge production. Creative educators and researchers are collectively seeking an academic space for video essays, legitimising their production, and suggesting ways of engaging with this kind of recursive language.

As Christian Keathley notes, “the essential question faced in the production of scholarly video is not technical, but conceptual” (2012). That is, video essays, like any other scholarly work, are concerned with the contribution to knowledge. But, how to achieve this? In this guide, we first look at the existing guidelines for the production and evaluation across the different journals, finding some coherence across them. We then suggest some ways of making them, dividing the process in three phases: preproduction, production and postproduction, in alignment with the filmmaking process. These guidelines do not aim to be prescriptive by any means. Rather, they seek to assist the video-making process . Due to our emphasis on the academic value of video essays, we further offer an overview to copyright considerations to take into account for its lawful, ethical and rigorous publication . We also include several journals and dissemination spaces. Finally, we share a case study of the application of the video essay as a creative assessment method at SOAS, University of London.

How to make video essays. Dr Shane O’Sullivan, Senior Lecturer in Filmmaking at Kingston University and Curator of Archives for Education .

Finding Coherence Across Journals

How to make video essay guides, copyright considerations, dissemination.

How to do a Video Essay: Home

Welcome to Joey's How To: Video Essay

Welcome to the ECU guide on How to Make a Video Essay . This guide has resources and instructional information to help you find your way around the video essay.

how to start an essay about a video

In this comprehensive "How To" video Joey will cover the basics of creating a Video Essay:

  • arguing your thesis creatively and engagingly
  • question analysis
  • the research process
  • writing your well prepared argument
  • check and record
  • the visuals
  • referencing
  • direct link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fn1NKAsLDCc

Note: This video production was sponsored by WAND teaching and learning grant. Thank you to WAND, Tanya Visosevic, Finn Williamson and Joey.

  • Joey's How To: Video Essay
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  • What is a Video Essay?
  • The Video Essay Process
  • Modes, MultiModality & Multiliteracies
  • A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies
  • Modes Of Multimodality
  • Video Essay Journals
  • Video Essay Channels
  • Weblinks to Video Essay Resources
  • Weblinks to Creative Commons Resources
  • Titles in the Library
  • Referencing & Copyright
  • Marking Rubric
  • Last Updated: Aug 28, 2023 2:57 PM
  • URL: https://ecu.au.libguides.com/video-essay

Edith Cowan University acknowledges and respects the Noongar people, who are the traditional custodians of the land upon which its campuses stand and its programs operate. In particular ECU pays its respects to the Elders, past and present, of the Noongar people, and embrace their culture, wisdom and knowledge.

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What Is a Video Essay? Definition & Examples Of Video Essays

how to start an essay about a video

A video essay consists of a series of videos that collectively, present an in-depth analysis or interpretation of a given subject or topic.

In this way, a video essay can be thought of as a condensed version of a lengthy written article.

VIDEO ESSAY

What is a video essay.

A video essay is an audio-visual presentation of your thoughts on a topic or text that usually lasts between 5 and 10 minutes long.

It can take the form of any type of media such as film, animation, or even PowerPoint presentations.

The most important thing to remember when creating a video essay is to include voiceover narration throughout the whole project so that viewers feel they are listening in on your thoughts and ideas rather than watching passively.

Video essays are typically created by content creators’ critics to make arguments about cinema, television, art history, and culture more broadly.

Ever wondered how ideas unfold in the dynamic world of video?

That’s where video essays come in.

They’re a compelling blend of documentary and personal reflection, packed into a visually engaging package.

We’ll dive deep into the art of the video essay, a form that’s taken the internet by storm.

In this article, we’ll explore how video essays have revolutionized storytelling and education.

They’re not just a person talking to a camera; they’re a meticulously crafted narrative, often weaving together film footage, voiceover, text, and music to argue and inform.

how to start an essay about a video

Stick with us as we unpack the nuances that make video essays a unique and powerful medium for expression and learning.

Components Of A Video Essay

As storytellers and educators, we recognize the intricate elements that comprise a video essay.

Each component is vital for communicating the essay’s message and maintaining the audience’s engagement.

Narrative Structure serves as the backbone of a video essay.

Our crafting of this structure relies on a cinematic approach where the beginning, middle, and end serve to introduce, argue, and explore our ideas.

Film Footage then breathes life into our words.

We handpick scenes from various sources, be it iconic or obscure, to visually accentuate our narrative.

The Voiceover we provide acts as a guide for our viewers.

It delivers our analysis and commentary, ensuring our perspective is heard.

how to start an essay about a video

Paired with this is the Text and Graphics segment, offering another layer of interpretation.

We animate bullet points, overlay subtitles, and incorporate infographics to highlight key points.

Our sound design, specifically the Music and Sound Effects , creates the video essay’s atmosphere.

It underscores the emotions we wish to evoke and punctuates the points we make.

This auditory component is as crucial as the visual, as it can completely change the viewer’s experience.

We also pay close attention to the Editing and Pacing .

This ensures our video essays are not only informative but also engaging.

The rhythm of the cuts and transitions keeps viewers invested from start to finish.

In essence, a strong video essay is a tapestry woven with:

  • Narrative Structure – the story’s framework,
  • Film Footage – visual evidence supporting our claims,
  • Voiceover – our distinctive voice that narrates the essay,
  • Text and Graphics – the clarity of our arguments through visual aids,
  • Music and Sound Effects – the emotive undercurrent of our piece,
  • Editing and Pacing – the flow that maintains engagement.

Each element works Along with the others, making our video essays not just informative, but also a cinematic experience.

Through these components, we offer a comprehensive yet compelling way of storytelling that captivates and educates our audience.

The Power Of Visual Storytelling

Visual storytelling harnesses the innate human attraction to imagery and narrative.

At its core, a video essay is a compelling form of visual storytelling that combines the rich tradition of oral narrative with the dynamic appeal of cinema.

The impact of visual storytelling in video essays can be profound.

how to start an essay about a video

When crafted effectively, they engage viewers on multiple sensory levels – not just audibly but visually, leading to a more immersive and memorable experience.

Imagery in visual storytelling isn’t merely decorative.

It’s a crucial carrier of thematic content, enhancing the narrative and supporting the overarching message.

By incorporating film footage and stills, video essays create a tapestry of visuals that resonate with viewers.

  • Film Footage – Brings concepts to life with cinematic flair,
  • Stills and Graphics – Emphasize key points and add depth to the narrative.

Through the deliberate choice of images and juxtaposition, video essays are able to articulate complex ideas.

They elicit emotions and evoke reactions that pure text or speech cannot match.

From documentaries like An Inconvenient Truth to educational content on platforms like TED-Ed, video essays have proven their capacity to inform and inspire.

Sound design in video essays goes beyond mere accompaniment; it’s an integral component of storytelling.

Music and sound effects set the tone, heighten tension, and can even alter the audience’s perception of the visuals.

It’s this synergy that elevates the story, giving it texture and nuance.

  • Music – Sets the emotional tone,
  • Sound Effects – Enhances the realism of the visuals.

Crafting a narrative in this medium isn’t just about what’s on screen.

It requires an understanding of how each element – from script to sound – works in concert.

This unity forms an intricate dance of auditory and visual elements that can transform a simple message into a powerful narrative experience.

The Influence Of Video Essays In Education

Video essays have become a dynamic tool in academic settings, transcending traditional teaching methods.

By blending entertainment with education, they engage students in ways that lectures and textbooks alone cannot.

how to start an essay about a video

How To Create A Powerful Video Essay

Creating a compelling video essay isn’t just about stitching clips together.

It requires a blend of critical thinking, storytelling, and technical skill.

Choose a Central Thesis that resonates with your intended audience.

Like any persuasive essay, your video should have a clear argument or point of view that you aim to get across.

Research Thoroughly to support your thesis with factual data and thought-provoking insights.

Whether you’re dissecting themes in The Great Gatsby or examining the cinematography of Citizen Kane , your analysis must be thorough and well-founded.

Plan Your Narrative Structure before jumping into the editing process.

Decide the flow of your argument and how each segment supports your central message.

Typically, you’d include:

  • An intriguing introduction – set the stage for what’s coming,
  • A body that elaborates your thesis – present your evidence and arguments,
  • Clearly separated sections – these act as paragraphs would in written essays.

Visuals Are Key in a video essay.

We opt for high-quality footage that not only illustrates but also enhances our narrative.

Think of visuals as examples that will bring your argument to life.

Audio selection Should Never Be an Afterthought.

Pair your visuals with a soundtrack that complements the mood you’re aiming to create.

Voice-overs should be clear and paced in a way that’s easy for the audience to follow.

Editing Is Where It All Comes Together.

Here, timing and rhythm are crucial to maintain viewer engagement.

We ensure our cuts are clean and purposeful, and transition effects are used judiciously.

Interactive Elements like on-screen text or graphics can add a layer of depth to your video essay.

how to start an essay about a video

Use such elements to highlight important points or data without disrupting the flow of your narrative.

Feedback Is Invaluable before finalizing your video essay.

We often share our drafts with a trusted group to gain insights that we might have missed.

It’s a part of refining our work to make sure it’s as impactful as it can be.

Remember, creating a video essay is about more than compiling clips and sound – it’s a form of expression that combines film criticism with visual storytelling.

It’s about crafting an experience that informs and intrigues, compelling the viewer to see a subject through a new lens.

With the right approach, we’re not just delivering information; we’re creating an immersive narrative experience.

What Is A Video Essay – Wrap Up

We’ve explored the intricate craft of video essays, shedding light on their ability to captivate and inform.

By weaving together compelling visuals and sound with a strong narrative, we can create immersive experiences that resonate with our audience.

Let’s harness these tools and share our stories, knowing that with the right approach, our video essays can truly make an impact.

Remember, it’s our unique perspective and creative vision that will set our work apart in the ever-evolving landscape of digital storytelling.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is visual storytelling in video essays.

Visual storytelling in video essays is the craft of using visual elements to narrate a story or present an argument, engaging viewers on a sensory level beyond just text or speech.

Why Is Visual Storytelling Important In Video Essays?

Visual storytelling is important because it captures attention and immerses the audience, making the content more memorable and impactful through the integration of visuals, sound, and narrative.

What Are The Key Elements Of A Powerful Video Essay?

The key elements include a central thesis, thorough research, a well-planned narrative structure, high-quality visuals, fitting audio, effective editing, interactive components, and a compelling immersive narrative experience.

How Do I Choose A Central Thesis For My Video Essay?

Choose a central thesis that is focused, debatable, and thought-provoking to anchor your video essay and give it a clear direction.

What Should I Focus On During The Research Phase?

Focus on gathering varied and credible information that supports your thesis and enriches the narrative with compelling facts and insights.

What Role Does Audio Play In Video Essays?

Audio enhances the visual experience by adding depth to the narrative, providing emotional cues, and aiding in information retention.

How Can Interactive Elements Improve My Video Essay?

Interactive elements can enhance engagement by allowing viewers to participate actively, often leading to a deeper understanding and connection with the content.

Why Is Feedback Important In Creating A Video Essay?

Feedback is crucial as it provides insights into how your video essay is perceived, allowing you to make adjustments to improve clarity, impact, and viewer experience.

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how to start an essay about a video

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A video essay is a type of video that is used to present a single, cohesive argument or idea. They can be used to communicate a complex idea in a way that is easy to understand. They can also be used to show how a

how to start an essay about a video

It is indeed.

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Absolutely, Greg.

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Great post! I found the definition of video essays to be particularly insightful.

As someone who is new to the world of video essays, it’s helpful to understand the different forms and purposes of this medium. The examples you provided were also enlightening, particularly the one on the First Amendment.

I’m looking forward to exploring more video essays in the future!

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I found this post to be incredibly informative and helpful in understanding the concept of video essays.

As a budding filmmaker, I’m intrigued by the idea of blending traditional essay structure with visual storytelling. The examples provided in the post were particularly insightful, showcasing the versatility of video essays in capturing complex ideas and emotions. I can’t wait to explore this medium further and see where it takes me!

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I found this post really fascinating, especially the section on the different types of video essays. I never knew there were so many variations!

As a student, I’m definitely going to start experimenting with video essays as a way to express myself and communicate my ideas. Thanks for sharing!

' src=

Interesting read! I’m curious to explore more video essays and see how they can be used to convey complex ideas in an engaging way.

Appreciate the comment

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Scripting Video Essays: How to Write a Great Narrative

There are many ways in which you can write video essays. Some have argued that video essays are a new trend in the world of creative writing. There is so much emphasis on developing a story from visuals, photographs, videos, and music to tell an enduring tale or lesson in this day and age. 

So, if you want to join the video essay bandwagon as an artist, expert, researcher, or student, you must know how to write them first before creating them.

Writing a narrative video essay is a great way to share your ideas with the world. Narrative essays let you not only say something meaningful but also show it. A good narrative video essay is also about the art of visual storytelling.

But first, if you are wondering what exactly is a video essay. Let’s address it first.

What is a Video Essay?

A video essay is a form of a documentary-like video narrative film using film footage, video clips, and graphics to discuss an issue or topic. Academics and artists can typically use video essays to discuss their research. 

In addition to blog posts and magazine articles, video essays are a new type of storytelling in the digital world. They take one idea and meticulously construct a narrative on how it came to be, how it’s been used/applied, or what it means.

video essay script

In its most popular form (one person talking head), a video essay is made up of between 3-7 minutes in length and usually presents one concept or topic.

It often looks at a film and demonstrates how it is engaging in meaning or does not. The video essay can also emphasize the acts performed by actors or directors, such as performance, staging, and editing techniques.

But today, it is not fixated to film subjects only.  You can also expand your visual stories about anything under the sun like history, politics, science, technology, etc. Just choose an idea and proceed with your essay writing.

Here is an excellent example of the best video essays –  Example: Best Video Essays by Vox

How do you Create a Narrative in your Video Essay?

To create a compelling video essay, you must know how to write an essay with a video component to produce a compelling story. A good video essay should have the following qualities:

  • It should be insightful, thought-provoking, or informative.
  • It should be argumentative and practice critical thinking
  • It should be visual, formal, and well-structured.
  • It should help the viewer understand and appreciate a topic/situation from various angles.
  • It should inspire viewers through findings, vocabulary, and plot.

The best video essays also use candid footage and demonstrate the use of nonfiction or documentary filmmaking techniques . And the main reason why people gravitate towards narrative essays is that they let you show your ideas visually to your viewers.

How to Write a Video Essay Script?

Many people are starting to make video essays as a way of presenting their own thoughts and experiences. The problem is that these videos do not have any actual narration, leaving the viewer lost trying to understand what’s happening.

But to write a grand narrative, you must follow the following stages:

how to come up with short film ideas

Brainstorming ideas is the first stage. At this stage, you should list a few interesting concepts in an organized way. You may want to use the topic form like: “A Case for Video Essays” or “How to Create a Story Using Text and Images?” So, while ideating, follow these:

  • Begin by picking a topic ( mostly what you are passionate about).
  • Think about your point of view and audience. 
  • Set up the background and context for your essay or story (the “what”). 
  • Reveal the turning point in your story (the “why”). 
  • Provide evidence to support your account of events (the “where”) 
  • Discuss how the incident relates to broader social concerns (the “what now?”).

Research is the next stage of writing a video essay. The moment you decide to make a video essay, you should have enough information about the topic. The more information and research you do in the ideation stage, the easier it will be for you as a writer and speaker to share your knowledge with the audience. Research may include:

  • Finding out facts from books, interviews, or research papers.
  • Finding out relevant video footage of the person, place, or event.
  • Getting access to the video footage of a particular event (e.g., presidential speeches).
  • Find audio or video files on the Internet and transcribe them into text format (e.g., podcasts, interviews).
  • THE ESSAY STRUCTURE: 

Because the video essay is still relatively new, there are no definitive rules about structure and genre for these films.  But still, we should adhere to some basic rules while constructing the script structure. Your structure is the most crucial stage for a crackling narrative. 

how to come up with short film ideas

The essentials of a great narrative essay structure are as follows :

  • First, create a rough outline from your research material.
  • Think about a compelling opening line with a single line answer to the question of the essay
  • Begin with questions, then answer in a way to create an argument.
  • The Argument then leads to the next question.
  • The emotion and Tone of the script should be formal, thought-provoking, insightful, and informative, supported by relevant visual reference.
  • The essay must represent a single point of view.
  • But it should be a well-reasoned perspective.
  • It must have the writer or creator’s personal touch.
  • Good writing is about the economy of words articulated to the point.
  • Don’t forget to mention the What is the Takeaway for the audience.
  • Don’t make it lengthy. Video essays are also about documenting or reviewing videos. So the script should not eat it all.
  • Once you have structured the script, go back to the beginning and review your work.

Once you have prepared a rough draft of your essay, read it out loud and find the rhythm in the story. Is it telling the theme visually?  Rewrite and get the tone right. Your first few scripts may not be satisfactory. Don’t worry about that. It is a learning process.

  • WRITING THE FINAL DRAFT:

Now, once you have gotten all the ideas into a script, you will be eager to write the final draft. At this stage, make sure to follow the following tips:

  • Make sure every line is comprehensible so that viewers can easily understand your point of view without missing anything important in it.
  • Proofread and make sure that you don’t leave any unfinished work or broken sentences in the video essay structure.
  • Check the length of the video essay and make sure to follow the minimum requirements.
  • Once you are done with the script, check for the formatting of your work.
  • Spend extra time on a great narration that helps explain your content effectively and concisely.
  • Get a clear idea about what you want to say so that you know what kind of images to use in the final draft of your essay and how they should be arranged.
  • Conclude the essay by providing the audience with everything they need to know about your subject.

For a compelling narrative, the first thing to do is identify what makes the story you are trying to tell unique and why an audience wants to learn about it.

Related Question:

Are Video Essays Popular Today?

Though the concept was coined in the mid-1990s, it has only become popular in the last five years or so. As of now, a considerable amount of video essays and short films are uploaded on Youtube. Some have even garnered millions of views.  The prominent mentions are the Nerdwriter, and Every Frame is a Painting.

check out – Best Video Essays of last year

How Long Does a Video Essay Take to Write?

If you are writing a long video essay, it can take you a considerable amount of time. However, if you aim to create a short film covering one event, it can be done in a day or two. 

But, you may take time if you don’t have the research material in your hand. 

Final words:

The video essay became popular because it is a way to engage with the writer rather than just “watching” them talk about something. But, to make a great narrative, you have to research a lot and put in your best efforts. 

We hope this write-up has helped you create a great video essay. Happy writing!

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How to create a video essay with students.

  • February 15, 2023

Video essays are a powerful and engaging way for students to express their understanding of a particular topic or concept. By combining video footage with voiceover narration, students can create a multimedia presentation that showcases their knowledge and creativity. To create a video essay with students, there are free tools you can use.

how to start an essay about a video

In this blog post, we will explore how teachers can guide their students through the process of creating a video essay. And I’ll share some of my favorite movie-making tools for students. Don’t forget to download these graphic organizers you can use to plan for your next video project.

What is a video essay?

A video essay is a short film that explores a specific idea or theme. It typically uses various forms of media, such as video, images, and text. In a video essay, a student presents a clear thesis or argument. They use a variety of visual and audio elements to support their ideas and engage the viewer. 

If you are new to using video essays but have introduced traditional essay writing techniques in the past, I encourage you to revisit the same checklists, supporting materials, and rubrics and add on if needed.

Here are some key things a student can include in a video essay:

  • A strong introduction that sets the stage for the rest of the essay. It should clearly state the thesis or main argument with text on the screen or audio voiceover.
  • A logical and well-structured body that presents evidence, examples, and analysis to support the thesis or argument. They might include transitions with animations and music to indicate different points.
  • A conclusion that summarizes the main points of the essay and offers some final thoughts or takeaways.
  • A clear and engaging visual style that uses a variety of media. This could include video, images, and text, to illustrate and enhance the ideas being discussed.
  • Good audio quality , including clear and audible narration and appropriate use of music and other sounds. Showing students exemplars and non-exemplars can help them understand the importance of this point.

Overall, a successful video essay should be well-organized, visually engaging, and even thought-provoking. It should provide a fresh perspective on the topic and offer the viewer something new and interesting to think about. You might ask students to lead a discussion about the topic afterward or ask for feedback after sharing their project with their classmates.

How do you choose the right tool for your video essay?

If you are deciding on what movie-making tool is the best fit for creating a video essay, there are a few things to consider. Here are some tips for figuring out which app or website is the best one for creating a video essay:

Choose the right tool for your video essay - Infographic

  • Consider your specific needs and goals . What are you trying to achieve with your video essay? Do students need a lot of advanced editing tools? Will a simple and straightforward tool get the job done?
  • Decide on a few must-have features. Look for an app or website that offers the features and functionality that your students need. This might include things like the ability to import and edit footage and add text and graphics. I suggest using a tool that lets students easily create transitions and add effects.
  • Re-examine your toolbelt. I often use the phrase “embrace your place” on my podcast ( listen to new episodes here ). If there are tools you’re already using that can accomplish the task of creating a video essay, make sure to try out that one first.
  • Ask for recommendations. Find out what your colleagues are already using and love. Alternatively, you might read reviews and research to find out what other people are saying about the app or website. This can give you a sense of its reliability, ease of use, and overall quality.
  • Try out a few different options . Many different tools will help you accomplish the same goals. You may want to check out a few options to see which one feels the most intuitive and user-friendly. Many apps and websites offer free trials or demos, so you can test them out before making a decision.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. If you’re unsure which app or website is right for you, you can always reach out to friends, colleagues, or online communities for recommendations (see above).

Tools for Making a Video Essay

Ultimately, the best app or website for creating a video essay will depend on your individual needs and preferences. However, by considering your goals, researching your options, and trying out a few different options, you should be able to find the right one for you.

Adobe Express

This free, web-based app allows users to create videos, graphics, and web pages. It has a variety of templates and design options to choose from and a free version for educators. Check out some of their recent creative challenges here. 

Adobe Premiere Rush

Adobe Premiere Rush is a video editing software that allows users to quickly and easily edit and produce professional-quality videos. It is a step up from Adobe Express and is available for desktop and mobile devices. It Includes features such as automatic color grading, audio ducking, and the ability to add titles, graphics, and transitions.

Microsoft Flip (formerly Flipgrid) is a web-based platform and mobile app that allows educators and students to create and participate in video discussions. Students can use this tool to create short videos using a green screen and other features like adding text to the screen.

Canva 

Tools for Video Essays - Infographic

Canva is a graphic design platform that allows users to create visual content such as social media posts, advertisements, and presentations. It is available online and as a mobile app and offers a wide range of templates and design tools, as well as the ability to upload and use custom graphics and fonts. You can use Canva for Education for free to create videos and graphics.

iMovie is a free video editing app available for Apple devices, including iPad, iPhone, and Mac OS. It is user-friendly and has a variety of features, including the ability to add music, text, and special effects to videos.

Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro is a professional-grade video editing software for Apple users. This video tool is used by editors and filmmakers and offers a wide range of advanced features. It may be something students want to explore if they are passionate about filmmaking. 

Benefits of Using Video Essays in the Classroom

Using video essays in the classroom can have several benefits if you’re looking to make a case for video essays. Firstly, video essays can provide an engaging and interactive way for students to learn and express their ideas. This can help to foster a more dynamic and engaging learning environment. Secondly, video essays can provide a more inclusive learning experience, allowing for a broader range of student voices and perspectives to be heard. 

Thirdly, video essays are an excellent option for students seeking a more creative outlet. They can create a visual representation of information and ideas. Additionally, video essays can be easily shared and accessed online, allowing for collaboration and feedback from both peers and teachers. Overall, incorporating video essays into the classroom promotes creativity, critical thinking, and student engagement.

Getting Started with Video Essays

If you want to find examples of video essays, there are a few places you can go. First, you may want to search for “video essays” on YouTube or Vimeo. This link will take you to my free download with YouTube tips for teachers. 

Try searching for specific themes related to topics students are studying. For example, “literature analysis video essays” or “civics video essays” to find more specialized collections of videos. If you are searching for examples along with your students, you might want to check out my article for Edutopia full of tips for online searches.

Creating a video essay with students can be a fun and rewarding experience for both teachers and students alike. Not only does it provide students with a creative outlet for expressing their understanding of the material, but it also allows for a deeper level of engagement and understanding. I’d love to hear your thoughts and help you celebrate your students’ creations. If you share in social spaces, tag me @ClassTechTips on your favorite platforms, including Instagram and Twitter .

Find more posts on Writing Strategies:  

  • Innovative Assessment How to Incorporate Video Essays in Your Classroom – Easy EdTech Podcast 206
  • Boost Student Writing During Be An Author Month
  • 3 Social Media Inspired Student Projects – Easy EdTech Podcast 192
  • Video Journals in the Classroom

Stay up-to-date on all things EdTech.

EdTech tips and resources for educators, straight from Monica’s desk every Monday. Don’t miss a thing. 

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Blog Author and EdTech Consultant Dr. Monica Burns

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Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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It is important that we are able to hear and see you. Before you start recording, make sure you are in a quiet space with good lighting. In orde r to minimize distractions, please have a neutral background that isn’t busy with objects or bright colors.

You want to make sure you are in a well lit room. If possible, we recommend recording during the day with natural light. If your space has a window directly behind you, ensure that the shades or curtains are closed.

Check the quality of the device you are recording on. Make sure that your face is fully in frame and visible, and that your audio is clear. You will have an opportunity to do a test before you begin the recording, be sure to take advantage of this opportunity. 

You have two attempts to record your video, so make sure beforehand that you are in an area with stable Internet connection. Since you will record the video essay directly in the application portal. We encourage you to check your internet speed and that your video will upload properly at the end of your recording. You can use an online speed test to check your speed.

We all know that the first impression is usually the most important. The video essay may be the only time the admissions committee will see and hear you, so take the time to ensure you are well dressed and groomed.

The essay question(s) will not be available beforehand. While you will not be able to prepare in advance, we recommend preparing yourself mentally: take deep breaths, go out for a walk, hydrate, etc. Do what you need to get in the right mind set. When you are ready and completed the video and audio check, the question(s) will appear on screen when you hit “Ready.” We have designed the question(s) to be answered it on the spot and you will have a few seconds to read the prompt before the recording begins. 

You only have two minutes to answer the prompt. Make sure to pay attention to the time and start wrapping up before time runs out. Once you completed the recording, take a few minutes to review your response. Utilize the second attempt if needed. If you decide to record your response using the second att empt, we strongly advise that you do not read your answer or look it up on the internet. Use your own words, be yourself and talk to us as if you were sitting across from us during an interview.  This is not a pass or fail exercise. We want to hear from you, your opinion, and what you have to say on this subject.   

We hope these tips will help you feel more confident and ready for the video portion. If you have not already done so, we encourage you review the application tips . If you still have questions or need additional guidance, here are ways to connect or learn more: sign-up for an information session or join the weekly Q&A session via zoom on Tuesdays from 3-4 PM PT/Wednesday from 9-10 AM PT.

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4 Easy Steps On How To Make A Video Essay

Just like photo essays and traditional essays, video essays tell a story or make a point. The only difference is that it presents the information or story in video form.

However, how to make a video essay is a general question in today’s time. As the development of technology and easy access to the internet has changed the traditional method of narrating a story through written essays has to be video essays. It is quite easy to connect with people through videos as compared to written essays as you can attract them in both express and implied ways. It has risen as an effective and efficient mode of presenting the information. 

Thus, this blog will help you understand how to make a video essay proficiently and the significance of making such an essay. Let’s start by discussing what a video essay is.

What is a video essay?

Table of Contents

The essay is a short formal piece of writing to express one’s thoughts, stories, arguments, and so on. Video essay means narrating the content of an essay in a video through pictures, text, music or narration, etc.

This is why it is a bit challenging to make a videos essay as compared to writing a traditional essay. Hence, the importance of learning how to make a video essay arises.

The following picture shows the steps that will help you get going with your project.

How to make a video essay

How to make a video essay?

Following are the steps involved in how to make a video essay:

1.   Contemplate your topic wisely

  • The first and the foremost step in how to make a video essay is to choose a topic for your essays. You can’t jump on to other steps before finalizing your topic. Your topic must address a brief content of the essay. Since it’s a videos essay therefore you have to decide a catchy title with a view to attract and allure your audience.  
  • While contemplating a topic for the essay you should always keep in mind that the product or content is the second thing but the title is the first thing to tell the audience about the essay.

2.   Create a script and structure

  • After deciding a topic now you have to create a story from your idea. Since video essays work as written essays, therefore you have to build a story on your idea in an interesting way.
  • As in a written essay you have to build a structure and outline to present your story, likewise in a video essay you have to drive a video in three stages beginning, middle, and end.
  • This step is very mandatory and has to be observed very cautiously. Create your narration or pictures, text beforehand so that you narrate the actual story in the perfect format.
  • As soon as you will make your outline then you can write your script in an efficient and effective manner. Writing a story is an art so make it worth watching.

3. Decide the right clips and images

  • By now you have decided your title, outline, and structure for your video essay. Now the next step in how to make a video essay is to choose the right clips and images to tell the story in the best manner.You can  create clip  by selecting the most relevant parts of your footage and trimming them down to fit your story’s pacing and structure. Additionally, consider using images that help illustrate your points or add visual interest to the video.
  • Since this is the best advantage of a videos essay that you can use pictures and clips to share your views so you also have to make the best use of them accordingly.
  • Always use only those pictures, clips, and texts which directly suggest your point of view or argument or your experience and so forth.
  • To choose the most suitable clips and texts and images you must have a rich library of the same. The rich library will help you to find exactly what you need and want to support each and every point you make and to rebut the point you want to rebut. Conclusively, you will craft a better video.

4. Edit the video into a single essay

  • You have everything ready to go and you are only left to collect and merge all the chosen images and footage into a single video to give it a form of narration.
  • While editing your video essay you can use any tools related to editing the videos as there are several videos editing too . It will help you to garnish your video in an attractive manner. You can make changes in the video while remembering your targeted audiences.

How long should a video essay be?

A 10-minute video essay that is clear, focused, stylish, and well-crafted is much better than a 60-minute video essay that is loose, vague, obvious, and thrown together. Thus, concerning traditional written essays, the following are the idea of the expected length of a video essay:

1500-2000 words8-10 minutes
2000-2500 words10-15 minutes
4000-6000 words15-20 minutes

Bonus Point

What are the best video editors.

Following are the best video editors that are free of cost:

(i) Lightworks: It is the best free choice for those who want to create professional-quality movies or videos without spending a penny.

(ii) Hitfilm express: It is also free-to-use video editing software. This software adjusts color balance, trim clips, and exports your projects in different video formats.

(iii) Movie Maker Online: It is a video editor that runs in your browser. to edit a video, you have to upload an unusual vertical project timeline where you can crop clops and add filters or transition effects.

(iiii) Canva: Canva is renowned for offering tens of thousands of templates in every format imaginable for use on every publishing platform. The features that make Canva video editor a fun, special, and effective tool include real-time collaboration, self-recording plus screen recording that is ideal for classes, training, and webinars, pre-licensed audio tracks, content planner, and publisher, as well as brand kit and colors. Canva’s video editor is also accessible on your browser (for online editing), desktop download (if you want offline editing), and mobile (iOS and Android).

(v) Vmaker AI: An easy-to-use AI video editor that turns your raw video footage into professional-looking videos in just one click. It automatically adds B-rolls, background music, transitions, effects, subtitles, intros, outros, and more, making your videos publish-ready with one click. Vmaker AI transforms long-form videos into short-form content and also creates highlights and teasers from your videos. What sets Vmaker AI apart is its feature-packed, full-fledged editing suite that lets the pros craft their videos to perfection.

If you are well versed with this blog, then sure, you know how to make a video essay efficiently and effectively.

Video Essay As Form Of Marketing

The video essay is the latest popular style of essay in which a short video is made to narrate a story or anything as per the genre of the essay. That is why it has emerged as an effective tool of marketing as now companies can sell advertises their products through video essays instead of advertisement videos. This is more efficient than traditional advertisements because it does not directly intend to do marketing. Instead, it depicts the importance of the product through pictures, video clips or story narration, etc. But all this is possible only when you know how to make a video essay.

Quick Links

  • The Complete List Of Cause And Effect Essay Topics
  • How To Write An Essay Plan?

With the emergence of technology and awareness of technology in people, the method of academics has completely changed and video essay is one of the modern aspects.  In video essays, You can create clip by selecting the most relevant parts of your footage and trimming them down to fit your story’s pacing and structure. Additionally, consider using images that help illustrate your points or add visual interest to the video. It has also become a tool of digital marketing owing to its advantages. But all this is possible only when you know how to make video essays and all the guidelines thereto. It will help to make a good video essay.

Hope you have found out from the above information how to make a video essay, but if you still have any doubts, then you can help from our experts through essay writing help , write essay for me in a very short period, and how to write my essay in an easy way.

What Makes A Video Essay Great?

According to Max Marriner, intellectual accessibility, genuine or hard-hitting evidence, and an engaging host are key formulas for making a good video essay.

Who Made The First Video Essay?

Mathew Turner created a viral youtube essay arguing that Daniel LaRusso, the young hero of the 1984 film, The Karate Kid, was actually the movie’s villain. You first need to know the story behind the video he posted to youtube.

How Do You Structure A Video Essay?

The video essay will have the same features as an essay; an introduction, argument, discussion, and conclusion. Students should be enabled to approach the development of the video essay in the same way as their academic essays; research, write, plan, prepare, edit, and submit.

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Hey! So, I've had this idea for over a year now, about genres and how to approach them in a manner that I've found very useful when consuming and creating any artistic works. I want to have a file or link which I can send to my friends and colleagues, where the idea is clearly explained and easy to digest, so that we can discuss this very topic. I've been thinking about making a video essay for that, but the problem is, I have no idea how to even start and every time I try to write a script, the ideas come out wrong and I feel like I haven't made any progress. Right now I've just erased all that I had so far and I want to start from scratch, but just as well, I would like to have some tips anyone out there might have to structure my ideas and splash them onto a small video format.

how to start an essay about a video

What's Project 2025? Unpacking the Pro-Trump Plan to Overhaul US Government

For several months, we received a flood of reader inquiries asking if project 2025 was a real effort to “reshape america.” here’s the answer., nur ibrahim, aleksandra wrona, published july 3, 2024.

  • Project 2025 is a conservative coalition's plan for a future Republican U.S. presidential administration. If voters elect the party's presumed nominee, Donald Trump, over Democrat Joe Biden in November 2024, the coalition hopes the new president will implement the plan immediately.
  • The sweeping effort centers on a roughly 1,000-page document  that gives the executive branch more power, reverses Biden-era policies and specifies numerous department-level changes.
  • People across the political spectrum fear such actions are precursors to authoritarianism and have voiced concerns over the proposal's recommendations to reverse protections for LGBTQ+ people, limit abortion access, stop federal efforts to mitigate climate change — and more.
  • The Heritage Foundation — a conservative think tank operated by many of Trump's current and former political allies — is leading the initiative. President Kevin Roberts once said  the project's main goals are "institutionalizing Trumpism" and getting rid of unelected bureaucrats who he believes wield too much political influence.
  • The Trump campaign's goals and proposals within Project 2025 overlap. However, the former president has attempted to distance himself from the initiative. In a July 5, 2024, post on Truth Social , he wrote: " I know nothing about Project 2025. I have no idea who is behind it. I disagree with some of the things they're saying and some of the things they're saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal. Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them."
  • In other words, it's unknown if, or to what extent, Trump's campaign is talking to leaders of the initiative. Many political analysts and the Biden administration believe Project 2025 is a good indication of Trump's vision for a second term.
Here at Snopes, the internet's premiere fact-checking site, we believe in unbiased, fact-driven reporting to help guide people's everyday lives. And when it comes to voting in elections, we hold that responsibility high. We call out candidates' mistruths, contextualize campaign claims and pull back the curtain on efforts shaping political parties' agendas. Our hope is to give voters the knowledge they need to mark ballots without any distorted sense of reality. Below is an example of that work — a months-long analysis of an all-encompassing effort to reshape the American bureacracy following the 2024 U.S. presidential election. If you'd like to support this type of journalism,  we'd love your help .   —  Jessica Lee ,  senior assignments editor,  snopes.com

As the U.S. 2024 presidential election nears, U.S. President Joe Biden's reelection campaign has been sending foreboding emails to supporters, invoking "Trump's Project 2025" to tap into anxieties over another four years with Donald Trump in the White House and to raise campaign money.

According to some of the emails, "Project 2025" calls for proposals that would separate "mothers away from their children," a reference to border policies during Trump's administration, or result in "higher housing costs and rampant discrimination."

The Biden campaign is not alone in its concern over the policy initiative. Critics including legal experts and former government employees have described Project 2025 as a precursor to authoritarianism — albeit a difficult one to implement — and a wave of social media  posts  are expressing  fear over the initiative, calling it a " fascist " and " extremist " plan for Trump to " reshape America." Numerous reports have also called this conservative effort to reshape the government unprecedented in its scale. 

But what exactly is Project 2025? Are the messages from critics rooted in fact or fear-mongering? What should people know about the alleged policy plan? Over the past year, Snopes has received a flood of inquiries from readers asking if Project 2025 was real and what it entails, and if American politicians plan to implement it.

Under the leadership of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, Project 2025 is indeed a real, all-encompassing initiative to transform the American bureaucracy if, or when, a conservative president takes over the White House. Project leaders are hoping to put it into motion as early as November 2024 if voters elect former President Donald Trump. 

Politico once described the policy initiative as an effort to make a "MAGA" conservative government by reshaping how federal employees work, and the  creators themselves have framed it as a push to institutionalize " Trumpism " —  that is,  Trump's political agenda — at every level of federal government. On Truth Social, a Trump-owned social media platform, users have described it as a return to "constitutional" values.

In June 2024, House Democrats launched a task force to make plans for a potential future in which Project 2025's recommendations could become reality.

The growing interest in Project 2025 coincided with the progression of Trump's presidential campaign. A  June 2024  NPR/PBS News/Marist poll found the presidential race to be extremely tight, with Biden and Trump almost tied, echoing a months-long trend of national surveys. ( Historically , polls at this stage of campaigns are not indicative of actual election outcomes.)

Leaders and supporters of the initiative declined to be interviewed for this story or did not respond to Snopes' inquiries.

What is Project 2025?

Project 2025 has four parts, according to its website : 

  • A roughly 1,000-page document titled " Mandate for Leadership 2025: The Conservative Promise ."  That report details supporters' proposals for federal departments, as well as their overall agenda for a conservative government.
  • A purported transition plan for federal departments. Project 2025 leaders say they have a 180-day transition plan for each federal agency to quickly adapt to a Trump presidency should he win in November. As of this writing, the contents of that plan were unknown.
  • A new database that aims to fill federal jobs with conservative voices. Spencer Chretien, associate director of Project 2025, once called the online system to screen potential new hires the " conservative LinkedIn ." It's currently active on the Project's website.
  • A new system to train potential political appointees . Called the " Presidential Administration Academy ," the system aims to teach skills for "advancing conservative ideas" as soon as new hires join the administration. The lessons touch on everything from budget-making to media relations and currently consist of 30- to 90-minute online sessions. Project 2025 leaders say they will host in-person sessions as the election nears. 

There's reportedly another facet to Project 2025 that's not detailed on its website: an effort to draft executive orders for the new president. According to a November 2023 report by The Washington Post that cites anonymous sources, Jeffrey Clark (a former Trump official who sought to use the Justice Department to help Trump's efforts to overturn 2020 election results) is leading that work, and the alleged draft executive orders involve the Insurrection Act — a law last updated in 1871 that allows the president to deploy the military for domestic law enforcement. Speaking to the Post, a Heritage spokesperson denied that accusation. (We were unable to independently corroborate The Washington Post's reporting due to its anonymous sourcing and our unsuccessful attempts to interview members of The Heritage Foundation.)

While many of Project 2025's proposals simply need the president's executive order to become reality, others would need Congressional approval, even as the Project seeks to expand presidential authority. In other words, lawmakers would need to write and approve legislation that details the changes to the government's existing structure, or establishes new systems. Come November, voters will choose who will fill  435 seats in the Republican-led House and 34 positions  in the Senate.

Key Points of The Roughly 1,000-Page Document

Speaking to Politico , Russell Vought, who served as the director of the Office of Management and Budget under Trump and is now a leading adviser for Project 2025, once described the effort as "more systematic than it is just about Trump," adding, "We have to be thinking mechanically about how to take these institutions over" in reference to federal departments.

Project 2025's document lays out in great detail how supporters want to do that. As of early June 2024, about 855,000 people had downloaded the document, The New York Times reported . 

Among its numerous recommendations, it calls for the following (in no particular order):

  • Changing how the FBI operates. According to the plan, the agency is "completely out of control," and the next conservative administration should restore its reputation by stopping investigations that are supposedly "unlawful or contrary to the national interest." Also, the document calls for legislation that would eliminate term limits for the FBI's director and require that person to answer to the president. 
  • Eliminating the Department of Education. The plan explicitly proposes, "Federal education policy should be limited and, ultimately, the federal Department of Education should be eliminated." The report also calls for bans on so-called " critical race theory" (CRT) and "gender ideology" lessons in public schools, asking for legislation that would require educators who share such material to register as sex offenders and be imprisoned. 
  • Defunding the Department of Justice. Additionally, the document proposes prosecuting federal election-related charges as criminal, not civil, cases. Otherwise, the document says, "[Voter] registration fraud and unlawful ballot correction will remain federal election offenses that are never appropriately investigated and prosecuted." 
  • Reversing Biden-era policies attempting to reduce climate change. The document's authors call for increasing the country's reliance on fossil fuels and withdrawing from efforts to address the climate crisis — such as "offices, programs, and directives designed to advance the Paris Climate Agreement ." 
  • Stopping cybersecurity efforts to combat mis- and disinformation. The document recommends the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to stop its efforts to curtail online propaganda campaigns, arguing the federal government should not make judgment calls on what's true and what isn't.
  • Changing immigration policies. Authors want the federal government to deprioritize DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the program that temporarily delays the deportation of immigrants without documentation who came to the U.S. as children; phase out temporary work-visa programs that allow seasonal employers to hire foreign workers; impose financial punishments on so-called "sanctuary cities" that do not follow federal immigration laws, and divert tax dollars toward security at America's border with Mexico. (While the Biden campaign claims Project 2025 calls for "ripping mothers away from their children" at the border, there's no explicit mention of separating families. Rather, it calls for stronger enforcement of laws governing the detainment of immigrants with criminal records and restricting an existing program that tracks people in deportation proceedings instead of incarcerating them. In some cases, those changes could possibly play a role in border control agents detaining a parent while their child continues with immigration proceedings.)
  • Restricting access to abortion. The plan wants the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to stop promoting abortion as health care. Additionally, Project 2025 recommends the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to stop promoting, and approving, requests for manufacturing abortion pills. "Alternative options to abortion, especially adoption, should receive federal and state support," the document states.
  • Removing LGBTQ+ protections. The plan calls for abolishing the Gender Policy Council , a Biden-created department within the White House that aims to "advance equity in government policy for those who face discrimination." Also, the proposal wants the federal government to remove terms such as "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" from records and policies, as well as rescind policies that prohibit discrimination on the basis of "sexual orientation, gender identity, transgender status, and sex characteristics."
  • Cutting ties completely with China. For instance, the document advocates for restricting people's access to TikTok because of its China-based parent company; prohibiting Confucius Institutes, cultural institutions at colleges and universities funded by the Chinese government, and blocking other Chinese entities from partnering with U.S. companies. 
  • Reversing protections against discrimination in housing. The Biden campaign emails reference a portion of the document that calls for repealing a decades-old policy—strengthened under Biden—that attempts to prevent discrimination and reduce racial disparities in housing. Project 2025 also recommends making it easier to sell off homes used for public housing — a benefit to real estate developers — but result in fewer cheap housing options for poor and low-income families. 

Here's a PDF of the full report :

(www.project2025.org)

Changing Federal Job Classifications 

To execute the above-listed objectives, the roughly 1,000-page document calls for a federal government operated by political appointees equipped to "carry out the President's desires." 

Put another way, Roberts, president of the Heritage Foundation, said in a July 2023 interview with The New York Times that Project 2025 leaders want to dismantle independent federal agencies that do not answer to the president. Then, they want to fill positions with people who subscribe to conservative politics — including jobs that are currently merit-based hires, not politically appointed.

Under the current system, the federal government's administrative sector is made up of two employee groups: political appointees and career civil servants. When a new administration takes over the Oval Office, it selects similarly minded people to fill high-ranking positions (political appointees), and those people leave the jobs when a new president takes over. According to the Brookings Institution , a public policy think tank, around 4,000 political appointees run the executive branch.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of positions that run day-to-day operations are hired through a merit-based system — that is, a hiring process that is designed to prioritize applicants' specialized expertise or experience , not their personal beliefs or affiliations. Those people are career civil servants. 

Project 2025 proposes turning up to 50,000 career civil servant jobs into politically appointed positions. 

To do that, Project 2025 wants the president to reissue Schedule F, a Trump-era executive order that Biden rescinded when he became president. Generally speaking, the order would recategorize career civil servants into at-will employees, giving higher-level workers the ability to terminate employment for any reason without warning and fill those jobs with new people.

Additionally, Project 2025 recommends revamping the existing appeals process for employee dismissals, arguing the current system prevents managers from firing or hiring the right employees. 

The plan also proposes a freeze on hiring top-career civil service positions at the beginning of the administration. By doing so, the plan argues, the new administration will prevent today's administration's leaders (later on "outgoing" political appointees) from "burrowing-in"— that is, hiring left-leaning career bureaucrats across federal agencies for the purpose of undermining the next president. 

Keeping Track of Potential Employees' Opinions

In addition to expanding government leaders' abilities to hire and fire at will, Project 2025 calls for a new federal database to gather information on potential new hires. The database contains people's answers to questions on social issues , such as abortion and immigration, allowing for department leaders to easily fill job vacancies with applicants who lean conservative.

"Our current executive branch was conceived of by liberals for the purpose of promulgating liberal policies," John  McEntee , who is leading Project 2025's personnel database project, told The New York Times in mid-2023, citing then-U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's (who was a Democrat) 1930s New Deal as the last major reorientation of the government. "There is no way to make the existing structure function in a conservative manner. It's not enough to get the personnel right. What's necessary is a complete system overhaul." 

By submitting resumes and answering questionnaires , applicants sign up to be vetted by Project 2025 leaders. According to the questionnaire , participants answer whether they "agree" or "disagree" with statements such as, "Life has a right to legal protection from conception to natural death," and "The U.S. should increase legal immigration."

If the participants pass that screening, Project 2025 intends to recommend them to department leaders for hiring. (We are unable to determine what would happen with applicants' data if Trump does not win the 2024 election, or if his potential administration does not want to use it.)

Project 2025 leaders partnered with technology company Oracle to set up the system, according to The New York Times . Several thousand potential recruits had applied, as of April 2023. 

Former presidents have established similar systems, including Barack Obama, according to Kevin Kosar, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a center-right public policy think tank. "They [The Obama administration] created a massive online jobs bank , where you could apply."

Also, during Obama's first term (January 2009 - January 2017), his administration required extensive vetting of applicants for high-ranking, politically appointed positions. Like Project 2025's program, that process included a questionnaire. That form asked participants to elaborate on past public statements, social media posts and potential conflicts of interests, as well as share things about their personal lives , like whether they own guns. (We found no evidence of the Obama administration circulating a similar questionnaire during his second term.)

Asked about that Obama-era questionnaire, a Biden aide said it was not comparable to Project 2025's system. The latter was a "loyalty test" to Trump, the aide said, while Obama's survey was more of a background check.

Trump Hasn't Publicly Endorsed Project 2025

Many former Trump administration members and current allies are working on the initiative. 

For example, the Center for Renewing America (CRA) — a think tank that formed in 2021 with ties to Trump through its founder, Russell Vought — is a "coalition partner." Vought was the director of the Office of Management and Budget when Trump was president. Should Project 2025 be a part of the next presidential administration, Vought will be in charge of implementing  its proposals, according to Politico. (In November 2023, The Washington Post reported he was in regular contact with Trump and could be a candidate for a high-ranking position in his potential future administration.) Also, Vought is policy director for the 2024 Republican National Convention's Platform Committee.

Reportedly , some people affiliated with Project 2025 are assisting Trump's reelection campaign behind the scenes.

how to start an essay about a video

(The groups that conceptualized, or are currently pushing, Project 2025 include a number of former Trump administration members and current allies.)

However, in terms of public-facing actions, Trump hasn't officially connected himself to the initiative. In speeches at campaign rallies and interviews, he hasn't mentioned Project 2025, and, on July 5, 2024 , he attempted to publicly distance himself by posting on Truth Social (his social media site):

I know nothing about Project 2025. I have no idea who is behind it. I disagree with some of the things they're saying and some of the things they're saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal. Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them.

Trump's campaign is at the very least aware of the initiative. Campaign officials once told Politico Project 2025's goals to restructure government, which are outlined in a publicly available document , indeed align with Trump's campaign promises.

But in a November 2023 statement, the Trump campaign said: "The efforts by various non-profit groups are certainly appreciated and can be enormously helpful. However, none of these groups or individuals speak for President Trump or his campaign." Without naming Project 2025, they said all policy statements from "external allies" are just "recommendations."

Concurrently, in an interview with the conservative outlet The Daily Wire , a Project 2025 representative said the Trump campaign and Project are separate "for now."  McEntee , a former Trump staffer and leader of Project 2025's personnel database project, said : 

I think the candidate and the campaign need to keep their eye on the ball. They need to be totally focused on winning. We're totally focused on what happens after [...] Obviously, there will need to be coordination and the president and his team will announce an official transition this summer, and we're gonna integrate a lot of our work with them. 

That said, given overlap between Project 2025's proposals and the Trump campaign's agenda , political analysts and the Biden campaign believe the coalition's effort is a good indication of Trump's vision for a second term. Among the similarities are proposals to change how the administration fills tens of thousands of government jobs and overhaul  the DOJ. According to The Heritage Foundation's own reporting, Trump adopted and seriously considered about two-thirds of the organization's policy prescriptions in 2018, for example.

In an interview with Snopes, James Singer, a Biden campaign spokesperson, said:

Project 2025 is the extreme policy and personnel playbook for Trump's second term that should scare the hell out of any American voter. The Trump team's pathetic denials fall flat when Project 2025 staff and leadership are saying they are connected to the Trump team, leading the RNC policy platform and part of Trump's debate prep, campaign, and inner circle.

But the extent to which Project 2025 leaders and Trump campaign officials are communicating is unclear. According to Kosar, at the American Enterprise Institute, no one outside of the two circles knows how closely they're working together. "[What] is the level of coordination? We have no idea." 

From the view of Cecilia Esterline, an immigration research analyst at the Niskanen Center, a think tank  with libertarian-right roots, Project 2025 is a good indicator of Trump's plans for a potential second term. "Given the people involved putting their names on this and the author portions of this report, and the success of [past] implementation, it's a good indicator of where Trump is at."

The Forces Behind Project 2025

Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts launched Project 2025 in April 2022, a few months before Trump officially announced his reelection campaign.

Since then, the number of groups backing the initiative has grown. As of now, Project 2025's advisory board and so-called "coalition partners" include: the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a nonprofit that aims to connect conservative applicants to congressional jobs and is led by Trump's former chief of staff, Mark Meadows; Turning Point USA, a far-right student advocacy group that is led by Charlie Kirk; America First Legal , a legal advocacy group that supports conservative-backed lawsuits and is led by Trump stalwart Stephen Miller. (According to a June 2024 Politico report, Miller was part of private meetings with Trump to help him prepare for upcoming televised debates against Biden.) 

Furthermore, in May 2024, Reuters interviewed what the news outlet described as unnamed Trump allies working on a plan to restructure the Department of Justice (DOJ) and fill currently nonpartisan jobs there with people who identify as conservatives. While the allies group wasn't named, Reuters reported it was tied to Project 2025. 

Lastly, many authors of the roughly 1,000-page document outlining Project 2025's policy proposals have connections to Trump. They include Ben Carson , William Perry Pendley , Jonathan Berry , Diana Furchtgott-Roth , Rick Dearborn , Adam Candeub , Ken Cuccinelli , Mandy Gunasekara , Dennis Dean Kirk , Gene Hamilton , Christopher Miller , Bernard L. McNamee , Mora Namdar , Peter Navarro , Roger Severino , Paul Dans , Kevin Roberts , among others. 

These Types of Pre-Election Efforts Aren't Uncommon

In the months or years before U.S. presidential elections, it's routine for nonprofit research groups to prepare plans for a potential presidential transition, according to Landon Storrs, a political history professor at the University of Iowa. 

And, according to Kosar, numerous think tanks want Trump's ear as he plans his potential return to the White House. "Whenever there is a new executive coming into the White House, [many] groups are trying to get in there."

According to the Heritage Foundation's website , the organization mostly operates on individual donations and does not take money from the government. However, how exactly it divvies up its money for Project 2025 was unclear. The New York Times reported Project 2025 was a $22 million operation.

Project 2025 authors built their proposals on an idea popular during former President Ronald Reagan's time: the "unitary executive theory." That's the belief that Article II of the U.S. Constitution gives the president complete power over the federal bureaucracy and all levels of government report to him. 

In 1980, the Heritage Foundation developed similar policy prescriptions for Reagan, who was a presidential candidate at the time. Some of the organization's recommendations aligned with Reagan's campaign promises , and, when he later assumed office, he put the ideas to action. Heritage once described its effort as putting "the conservative movement and Reagan on the same page."

However, according to Politico , the present-day initiative by the Heritage Foundation was more "ambitious" than any other such proposal. The New York Times  said Project 2025 was operating at "a scale never attempted before in conservative politics." Its efforts are a contrast to the 1930s Democrat-led New Deal under then-U.S. President Roosevelt, which gave the federal government an unprecedented role in social and economic affairs on the belief that it would get the country out of the Great Depression.

Critics' Logistical Concerns, Worries

If some of Project 2025's ideas turn into formal policy recommendations or laws, experts in government and history have concerns over how they could be implemented. Such drastic changes would come with big logistical hurdles and have a ripple effect on agencies overseeing day-to-day governance, several such experts said. 

For example, Project 2025's proposal to reclassify tens of thousands of federal workers' positions — that is, change career bureaucrats into jobs that can be politically appointed — would have widespread effects, according to Storrs, of the University of Iowa. She said:

When [Project 2025's] intention is to install officials based on their loyalty to the president rather than on their qualifications, [the result] is even more damaging to effective administration. [...] The President already has authority over who heads the agencies. But below them, people are simply trying to collect taxes, get social security checks out — there is a lot that shouldn't be disrupted.

Kosar, of the American Enterprise Institute, expressed concern over skills required for jobs that aren't currently appointed. "These positions have a serious degree of expertise attached. You can't just plug in a private sector businessman into the department of transportation. It's going to be a challenge to match the people and the competencies and the expertise." 

Esterline, the Niskanen Center analyst, said with presidential administrations changing every four to eight years, government agencies rely on the expertise of continually employed civil servants — employees with institutional knowledge — to make the transitions as smooth as possible. "[If] we suddenly disrupt that balance of political appointees to civil servants, it will be a much rougher transition." 

Among other aspects of Project 2025, Esterline is attempting to raise the alarm on its prescriptions for specific regulatory changes. "[Project 2025] is a meticulous outline of how they will crumple the system simultaneously through minute changes."

Meanwhile, some former government officials are particularly concerned about the initiative's plans for the DOJ and FBI. For instance, in an interview for The Guardian , Michael Bromwich, a former DOJ inspector general, said the proposals to turn the departments into "instruments" to fulfill Trump's political agenda "should send shivers down the spine of anyone who cares about the rule of law."

Overall, critics including legal experts and former government employees have zeroed in on Project 2025's goal to give the executive branch more power, describing it as a precursor to authoritarianism.

However, the initiative's push to increase executive power may be part of a deeper trend in American politics, Peter Strauss, a professor at Columbia Law School, said in a  lecture  on Faculti, a research video platform. He said momentum to increase executive authority has been steadily increasing over many presidential administrations: 

We have seen in the United States a steadily expanding presidential claim of authority to control not only tenure but also ordinary acts of government. This has been happening at least since the presidency of Ronald Reagan and it reached a peak with President Trump and his first term, and he's promised that he's going back there. 

Our Reporting

For this report, we repeatedly tried to interview representatives of the Heritage Foundation — the conservative think tank that conceptualized Project 2025 — as well as the Trump campaign and other supporters of the effort. All either declined to be interviewed or did not respond to our inquiries. 

For example, we reached out to dozens of groups on Project 2025's advisory board — a collection of groups under the Heritage Foundation's oversight that have co-signed the effort, given feedback on its proposals or promoted it to government officials. The groups include Center for Renewing America , Turning Point USA , The American Conservative , and  American Cornerstone Institute . We asked the organizations about the nature of their involvement in the initiative, proposals they support, and more. As of this writing, none has responded.

After we initially reached out to the Heritage Foundation for this story, a spokesperson responded asking for more specifics on our reporting. We responded with key points, including requests to comment on project leaders' communication with former U.S. President Donald Trump, concerns from legal experts about the initiative's proposed changes and general criticism. The Heritage Foundation did not respond to that message. Later, after informing the organization of our writing deadline, a spokesperson said no one was available.

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July 5, 2024: This post was updated to include Trump's July 5, 2024, post on Truth Social.

By Nur Ibrahim

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.

By Aleksandra Wrona

Aleksandra Wrona is a reporting fellow for Snopes, based in the Warsaw area.

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YouTube film essay pioneers 'Every Frame a Painting' are back

And the duo behind it will release a short film on july 20..

Between 2014 and 2016, a YouTube channel called Every Frame a Painting posted 28 video essays critiquing movies and dissecting different aspects of filmmaking before it went silent. Taylor Ramos and Tony Zhou, the people behind the channel, talked about how Robin Williams was a master at blocking and using movement to portray his characters, as well as how Steven Spielberg does one long takes all the time that tend to go unnoticed by the public, among many other topics. Now, the duo is back, promising another series of video essays followed by the debut of a short film at Fantasia International Film Festival on July 20.

Ramos and Zhou wrote and directed their upcoming film called The Second starring Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Ethan Hwan. They didn't share a lot of details about the movie, but the film festival's website says it's about "an alternate version of today’s world where dueling is still acceptable" in which Philip "must perform the role of 'Second' on the day of his only son's duel."

Every Frame a Painting has over 2 million subscribers on YouTube and was one of the creators that helped legitimize video essays on the website. Ramos and Zhou also created the Netflix series Voir , produced by David Fincher, which featured video essays about film, as well. Seeing as they promised new posts on YouTube before their film premieres, we'll likely see them upload a fresh batch of videos in the coming days.

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    Every video analysis essay should have a central idea, or thesis, that ties the film together. 2. Write a Summary. Starting with a brief allows you and your team to document the answers to the most pressing project concerns. It ensures that everyone participating in the video production is on the same page.

  2. LibGuides: How to do a Video Essay: The Video Essay Process

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  10. LibGuides: How to do a Video Essay: What is a Video Essay?

    As a structure, the video essay is thesis-driven, and uses images with text so that the audience can read and interpret the idea or argument in a multimodal way. In educational settings, the term video essay is used broadly for teacher/student-learner generated video and as a vehicle to transmediate between written-text to digital forms.

  11. How To Make A Video Essay (For Beginners)

    In this video you'll learn how to make a simple video essay from start to finish.~UPDATE: I'm about to launch a course sharing everything I know about making...

  12. Home

    In this comprehensive "How To" video Joey will cover the basics of creating a Video Essay: arguing your thesis creatively and engagingly. question analysis. the research process. writing your well prepared argument. check and record. the visuals. editing. referencing.

  13. What Is a Video Essay? Definition & Examples Of Video Essays

    Definition & Examples Of Video Essays. Matt Crawford 9. A video essay consists of a series of videos that collectively, present an in-depth analysis or interpretation of a given subject or topic. In this way, a video essay can be thought of as a condensed version of a lengthy written article. VIDEO ESSAY.

  14. Scripting Video Essays: How to Write a Great Narrative

    The essentials of a great narrative essay structure are as follows : First, create a rough outline from your research material. Think about a compelling opening line with a single line answer to the question of the essay. Begin with questions, then answer in a way to create an argument.

  15. The Ultimate Video Essay Checklist

    New to video essays? Don't know what a video essay is? Don't know where to start putting one together? Don't worry, Matrix has got your back! In this post, we show you how to plan, script, and produce a spectacular video essay that will blow away your teachers, mates, and marks!

  16. How to Create a Video Essay with Students

    By combining video footage with voiceover narration, students can create a multimedia presentation that showcases their knowledge and creativity. To create a video essay with students, there are free tools you can use. In this blog post, we will explore how teachers can guide their students through the process of creating a video essay.

  17. PDF Why a video essay? Things to consider ahead of your video essay

    Important Note: Your video essay link will appear in your checklist on your appl icant portal. You have 24 hours to complete your video essay after submitting your application and paying your application fee. If you do not complete your video essay within 24 hours, it will no longer be consider ed as part of your application. Even if

  18. How to Prepare for the Video Essay

    A webcam and microphone are required for this section. Since the video essay is a little different from the standard application requirements, here are some tips to help you prepare.1. Setting. It is important that we are able to hear and see you. Before you start recording, make sure you are in a quiet space with good lighting.

  19. 4 Easy Steps On How To Make A Video Essay

    Following are the steps involved in how to make a video essay: 1. Contemplate your topic wisely. The first and the foremost step in how to make a video essay is to choose a topic for your essays. You can't jump on to other steps before finalizing your topic. Your topic must address a brief content of the essay.

  20. How To Make A Video Essay: Footage and Voiceover

    How do you make a video essay? How do you capture footage in the best possible quality? What equipment do you need to do so? How do you record voiceover?Here...

  21. IWTL How to write a video essay script : r/IWantToLearn

    Find a friend to test your explanation on. You should start by explaining the goal of the video essay. At the end, have a summary or conclusion. Other than that it depends on how structured you want to be. For a lecture or presentation style, group your points into 3-5 categories, list the categories in the introduction, then repeat the ...

  22. What's Project 2025? Unpacking the Pro-Trump Plan to Overhaul US

    Here at Snopes, the internet's premiere fact-checking site, we believe in unbiased, fact-driven reporting to help guide people's everyday lives.

  23. How to write an Organic Essay The flow of essay should ...

    How to write an Organic Essay 樂 The flow of essay should be organic. For that we need to break down the essay topic into When, why, what, how. Address the topic from all the dimensions. ️ Take your...

  24. Dr. Sanjay Gupta: It's time for President Biden to undergo detailed

    Video Ad Feedback 'It's not a political essay, it's a medical one': Dr. Sanjay Gupta calls for Biden to undergo cognitive testing ... and right from the start of the debate.

  25. How To Make A Video Essay

    How do you make a good video essay? In this video I give my two cents on the topic, as well as start drama and slag off my peers.Like and subscribe. It's fre...

  26. YouTube film essay pioneers 'Every Frame a Painting' are back

    Between 2014 and 2016, a YouTube channel called Every Frame a Painting posted 28 video essays critiquing movies and dissecting different aspects of filmmaking before it went silent. Taylor Ramos ...

  27. Opinion

    Mr. Eagleton is a journalist and the author of "The Starmer Project." He wrote from London. The outcome seems predestined. The British Conservative Party, moribund after 14 years in office and ...