5 Ways To Beat Directors Block When Producing Online Videos
“Writers block.” It’s an awful feeling that you’ve experienced at some point. Once writers block sets in, it’s “game over man, game over” as Bill Paxton said so eloquently in the 1986 science fiction blockbuster Aliens. ”Directors block.” It’s really no different when producing online videos. Whether it’s creating a conference summary, product testimonial or vlogging, lacking inspiration is an awful feeling. You feel helpless especially when you have a super awesome camera rig, eager subjects and Final Cut Pro at your disposal. You peer through the viewfinder, but all you see is Bill Paxton.
5 Ways To Beat Directors Block When Producing Online Videos
1) Make it all about the music. Creating great online videos is never a perfect science and sometimes conditions or background noise don’t allow for ideal interview situations. With that in mind, sometimes going biteless (without the use of spoken footage) is the better option. In other words, a perfectly paced music track matched with effective broll (“cover footage”) might be enough to create a compelling story. http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/ and www.beatsuite.com/ are two tremendous royalty free sites worth visiting.
Becoming A “Professional” Rockstar Requires Consistency And Practice.
In a past life, before strollers, minivans and 9-5, I was an aspiring musician. I still am. I had a pretty cool time playing in a myriad of bands that crossed everything from alternative country, 90′s synth rock, to my favorite, an 80′s tribute band that lasted over a decade. The Cure, Rick Springfield, AC DC, Bryan Adams and White Lion. Silliness without pyrotechnics. A cracked tip jar without a manager commanding a portion of those well earned funds. My favorite weapon of choice is a jet black Fender Strat with dual humbuckers that is ridiculously warm though my Mesa. Call it beer goggles or Smirnoff, but every time I stepped in front of that mic, that blurry mixture of lights, decibels, cigarette smoke and yes stares from strangers made me feel like America’s most desired who just stepped off a foul odored bus on the last leg of a tour. Of course reality would quickly slap me in the face when breaking down our own cables at 2:35AM was like getting a root canal and we were forced to split $18 in tips 4 ways.
Why would someone want to live in a city that often just can’t get away from the Katrina questions? Why would someone want to live in a city that is at times the deadliest in America? Why would someone want to live in a city with a public educational system that often plays catchup? All very familiar questions often asked by those unfamiliar with New Orleans. Sadly those questions, the misconceptions I stated above are still perpetuated by the often replayed helicopter wide shot of a city torn in half by a shredded levee. Frankly, these questions have been thrown at this city and its people long before the arrival of a natural disaster. Continue reading →
Just by sheer hardware alone, WGNO-TV’s “God Bless Louisiana” is easily the most successful campaign I’ve been a part of in my career. A perfect example of an underdog station delivering big. A perfect example of a team of producers with an eye for capturing the “needed moments” and telling a heartfelt story. Who doesn’t love New Orleans?
In just over a year, the campaign has garnered some much needed attention with a 2012 Gold Addy in New Orleans, a Gold Addy at District 7 Regionals, a National Addy Finalist, a 2011 Promax Gold, a 2012 Promax Silver. Throw in a 2012 Special Judges Award, a bag of chips and we are set. It was also a 2012 ABC Apex Finalist. Woot! As my general manager so eloquently put it, never has a campaign generated such attention in his 15 years with the station. Continue reading →
If it’s one thing I’ve learned in my 15 plus years in the television and video world, bad habits and video mistakes are easy to come by. To make things worse, bad habits are hard to reverse. For example, editing without mastering keyboard shortcuts especially for experienced content producers is time consuming. For newbies, logging in camera time without understanding some basics is the start of bad habits. Adam Westbrook listed 10 very common video mistakes in his October 24, 2011 post titled “10 common video storytelling mistakes (and how to avoid them).” I’ve reinforced a couple of obvious ones that have always stood atop of my don’t do list. I’ve added some others not so obvious, all simple video mistakes you should avoid as a beginner.Continue reading →
Last year was a punch to the gut. It was a year of unadulterated job change. Lessons learned but it was still a painful distraction that taxed my family every which way possible.
Not one job change, not two but a third job change within a nine month window tested my family’s sanity and senses. Remember “Scanners,” the 1981 movie where someone’s noggin explodes like an uncovered dish in a microwave? Might as well have been mine. Throw in opinionated toddlers, a decision to jump area codes again as well as an unforgiving real estate market and we found ourselves feeling like this guy.
Smack in the middle of the chaos stood one sobering reality, I did not have an effective backup plan. A thriving career with dynamic media companies? Very fortunate. Documented examples of increasing bottom lines and boosting ratings? Yup. Paid the water bill on time? They love us. Did I have a viable action plan amidst job change? Not as concrete as I wanted. Continue reading →
Finding your “Comfort Zone” is a beautiful thing. There aren’t too many things on the planet that can better dictate one’s professional routine or have as much effect on personal life like comfort. From your 9-5 surroundings, friendships you nurture daily and workflows, finding your zone is business efficient, cost effective and maintains peace in the ranks. Maintaining your online video brand is no different. Comfort zones, as I had mentioned allow for streamlined, cost saving processes, real big check marks on a line producer’s clip board.
Familiarity with what works also opens up for what I call “production spaces,” small blocks of time that lets you investigate diverse creative arcs or on the fly production enhancements with little disruption. As we all know, in any business, having a tool belt with minimal second guessing is what makes clients giddy. Continue reading →
In early March, a colleague shared with me that media giant Turner Broadcasting was going to have on a huge presence at the #2011 SXSW Music + Film Interactive Conference. And from what I heard, that they did. Coincidentally, I got a Facebook update from another colleague who was selected as one of a handful of #CNN IReporters who would cover the festival. From their perspective and literally their own lens (Canon 60Ds I believe), they would shoot broll of what makes the #2011 SXSW experience so fascinating. The finished CNN piece was an elegant 2-minute snapshot that uniquely showcased one of the largest digitainment conventions known to man, in the purest of forms. Clearly a spin cycle of media, technology, knowledge, music and hangovers, immediately you’d think overload and excess. But yet the opposite was showcased. It was demystified, brought down to the simplest form of storytelling through storytellers who put aside the obvious and concentrated on essence. No voice over, minimal transitions and a sweet music cut. I’ll say it again till I’m blue in the face… more doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to video production. I’ve directed, written, produced enough to witness this first hand. Here are 5 Ways On How To Simplify Your Online Video Making Process and engage your viewers through simplicity and honesty as opposed to abundance and over thinking. Oh yeah, no fancy equipment needed and kudos to the folks at #CNN. Continue reading →
Transitions are not easy. Add unemployment to the mix and the stresses are amplified. Even though the nation’s unemployment rate fell sharply to 9.4% from 9.8%, a total of 14.5 million Americans were still out of work in December 2010 according to a USAToday January 2011 article. Maintaining your personal brand during career transitions has never been more important. Maintenance might not only magnify your presence among potential employers, it might just set you apart when it matters the most, getting noticed. Here are Five Easy Ways On How To Get Noticed During Job Transition.