Monday, 25 November 2013

4 Really Simple Rules to Keep In Mind If You Are Thinking Of Doing A YouTube Video

In keeping with the social networking trends, I thought it would be a good idea to add YouTube videos to my blog. (Fact: 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube); the idea was that once a month rather than write the weekly book review for my Chatter On Books blog, I would to do a 5 to 7 minute video ... Sounds simple, right? 

That’s what I thought, well, this is how it went down...

Day 1: Spent the day watching many, many other YouTube videos, all sorts and all kinds. 
  • It seemed that the preferred setting was a bedroom, although kitchen and bathroom locations came in close seconds. 
  • The content was generally delivered in a monotone, and/or a high pitch (read: screech) at the end of every sentence. (I noticed that sometimes the tone was rather condescending, like they were talking to idiots). 
  • The women (and a few of the men) used a lot of hair flicking, (possibly for effect) 
  • Most of them (men and women) stared directly at the camera, talking, talking, talking…about anything and about nothing.  
  • Some actually acted out what they were talking about, complete with sound effects and action shoots (jumping on and off beds and kitchen chairs). 

Day 2: Had myself a brainstorming session and decided to do something different. This was Mistake #1. I envisioned doing a Ted Talks type 5 minute video with some baking thrown in, ending with me elegantly sipping a glass of wine. 
That was the general idea anyway. 

Day 3: I went to work writing the script. I wrote the script as if it was a blog, and here is Mistake #2. While it read beautifully on paper, I did not realise that it would not work for video.  

Day 4: Asked (bribed) a friend to do my hair and makeup, got my son to do the taping and I went to work on the props.  I was going to be making a Maltese dish called Ross Fil Forn (baked rice) while reviewing the book. Mistake #3. There was so much going on in those 5 minutes: book review, baking, drinking wine that it was a very chaotic 5 minutes. I was starting to get confused as to what I was supposed to be doing and when. 

Day 5: It's show time. I was excited. In my mind, (actually I really believed this was the way it would happen), I saw the video being executed beautifully, me elegantly, effortlessly and simultaneously preparing the baked rice while talking intelligently, (no hair flicking involved) about the book, occasionally sipping the wine and being engaging and perhaps inspiring. 

The reality: yes, the baked rice was ready to go into the oven, the wine bottle was open and breathing, my hair and makeup looked great, but once the camera started rolling, I froze. Mistake #4. I forgot to make sure that I could talk (naturally) with a camera in my face; I forgot to do whatever one is supposed to do to rehearse for this.  Then my friend (the one who did my hair and make up) suggested I just read the script. Cut. I sounded wooden and terrified. 
Started over and over and over again. Cut, Cut, Cut.

Meanwhile, I downed a couple of glasses of wine for calming purposes and convinced myself that I now sounded drunk. Two hours and what seemed like 1000 takes later (undeniably there was some improvement, probably the effects of the wine, but nothing significant), I admitted defeat, turned off the camera and finished the bottle of wine. 

4 Really Simple Rules to Keep In Mind If You Are Thinking Of Doing A YouTube Video 
1. Start with what works. 

2. Have cue cards with key sentences (rather than a full length article), placed where you can glance at them (discreetly), without looking like you are actually reading

3. Keep it simple

4. Before actually shooting the video, have many practice runs

... And keep a bottle of wine close by, it helps.

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