It sounds simple, but it takes work. You need to plan your shoot. Whether it be a short film, music video or mini documentary, you can not just show up with a camera and a tripod and throw something together. You need to know the essential story beats in order to effectively tell the story in an exciting way. You also need to know the best way to capture them visually and present them to the audience. One of the greatest aspects that I learned from my two years at film school was the value of pre production. The value of breaking down a script, creating a proper shot list and logistically planning my shoot days. Even if our plan stunk, we stuck to it and were able to get all our shots filmed for our not-so-good school short film. At the time I did not realize how important this concept was, but now, a few years later I realize it is key. Fred Zinnemann says, “directing is a unique combination of the pre visualized and the improvisational.” Plan the shoot, shoot the plan simply provides you with a logistical structure, that gives you the space to work closely with the talent in order to achieve those performances that will best tell the story. This is invaluable. This means you are not worrying about where the camera is supposed to be for a scene, how the scene will be blocked or how to light it. These questions have all been answered before hand. Things always change on the day and you must be flexible as a filmmaker, if you see a shot that will serve the story better, and if you have the time you must take the shot.
Plan the shoot, shoot the plan, its a simple concept and will drastically improve your efficiency while shooting. It will make room for you to be creative on the day and fine tune those little details that will enhance the story of your film.