One of the biggest obstacles I've tackled in life is getting comfortable on camera.
Video gave me ALL the feels:
• Extreme discomfort like wearing pants that are 2 sizes too small.
And I felt all this - even before I hit record.
But I knew that video is one of the fastest and most effective ways to build trust with an audience.
So 4 years ago, I committed to figuring it out.
At first, shooting videos was synonymous with getting a root canal. And the quality was (or at least felt) super cringe. Here's an example.
And when I say "at first" - I mean for the first year or more.
Over the years, I've shot hundreds of videos and learned some key lessons that make video less painful. I even make a lot of money from it now.
Are you thinking about getting on camera (and I hope you are!)?
If so, I'd like to share a list of my biggest lessons and insights that will hopefully help you get started with video, faster.
Tip #1: Prepare
We all know that we should do some sort of preparation before we start recording.
My problem wasn't that I was unwilling to prepare.
My problem was that I didn't know how to prepare.
For me, preparation starts with a written outline. I'm talking the major bullet points that I want to hit on the video. I do much better with a hand written outline than I do a typed outline. I learn better that way. YMMV.
Some people like to script out their videos word for word. There's nothing wrong with that, but it isn't my jam. Why? Because if I have a script, my brain thinks I have to hit the script perfectly. If I don't, I start over. Then I get frustrated and I spiral and the whole thing falls apart. YMMV.
After I have my outline, I do 2-3 practice runs off camera to see how it sounds. The trick here is that I have to say it OUT LOUD (not in my head). This helps me feel more prepared but it also gives me a chance to make sure it actually sounds good.
I'd say that I end up revising my outline around 70% of the time once I hear myself practice out loud.
Tip #2: Keep the Tech Simple
There is some SUPER cool camera tech and gear out there.
• Boom poles
• Sound boards
• Mirrorless Cameras
• Shotgun microphones
• Multi-temperature lighting
And you don't need any of it.
First, while video tech is really REALLY cool, it can be a super PITA to get it all set up and dialed in every time you want to shoot. And I've learned that the more things that stand in my way of hitting record, the less likely I am to actually do the work.
Second, the tech gets expensive. Fast. And the camera on your phone is likely good enough anyway. Especially if you have an audience of 0 today.
If you really want to invest to upgrade your videos, I would encourage you to invest time and money in this order:
1. Content (none of the rest matters if what you're saying sucks)
2. Audio (people will forgive bad video more than bad audio)
3. Lighting (the best camera is useless with bad lighting)
4. Camera (last on the list yet most people start here)
Tip #3: Go Live
Perhaps the biggest struggle I have with shooting video is my perceived need to be perfect.
My recording sessions would often go something like this:
Stumble or stutter
Hit record again
Stumble or stutter
I would easily repeat this cycle DOZENS of times, even for a 2 minute video. And it almost always ended with me angry at myself for not being able to do it.
I wanted to figure out how to break this cycle so I hired a video coach.
The first thing they had me do was go live every day for 2 weeks.
You can't start and stop the camera because you screw up when you go live! Your only option is to push through it. It was exactly what I needed for 2 reasons. It forced me to get on camera AND it removed my ability to pursue perfection.
The irony in all of this is that your audience doesn't expect nor want you to be perfect.
They want to learn from you.
Tip #4: Just Hit Record
You have a million reasons why you should wait just a few more days or a few more weeks to get started with video.
You're waiting on the ring light to come in from Amazon.
You need to watch 3 more how to YouTube videos on making videos.
You need to plan it out - just a little more.
The longer you put it off, the less likely you are to start.
And you know I'm right.
Turn on your phone and hit record.
Tip #5: Get the Reps In
If you want something to pay off for you, you have to first be loyal to it.
I can tell you from personal experience that video will pay off for you if you stay loyal to it.
But that means:
Reps. Reps. Reps. Reps. Reps. Reps. Reps. Reps.
Reps is the hard, unsexy, behind the scenes work that we as a society fail to recognize as the true MVP in life.
There's no substitute.
Do it again.
And then do it some more.
And one day you'll have less anxiety.
And one day you'll realize that you don't suck as much.
And one day people will tell you that you're amazing at it.
And one day you'll believe it.
And then do it more.
And the whole time you'll be serving those that need you to serve.
And that's the job, isn't it?
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