I recently shipped a video I made for a competition. It was a horror & fun at the same time. Here’s the story of internal turmoil I went through in order to ship that video.
I went for a short vacation on the seaside in the beginning of December. While sitting in a cafe I randomly picked up a car magazine. There was a full-page ad of a competition. The reward is participation in a whole day of car testing on a race track. Not any cars but a few mighty Mercedes AMGs… Now that’s something I want to do!
In order to apply one needed to submit a 60 second video about their passion for cars. “This may be something for me… I’d like to do that”. I thought. But a second later “this is way too crazy” popped into my mind. “I can’t. I don’t know how. It would be hard. It can be embarrassing.” So I ditched the idea - or so I thought - and continued with my vacation.
But then this idea just couldn’t leave me alone. I was both excited for the perspective of storming around a real racetrack in real sports cars. I was also excited to do a next step in my learning of video production. C’mon - my two great passions together! After 2 weeks of this doubts and thinking I had enough. I had to either slash the idea or make it real. I decided I’ll do the video and submit it.
About a month after picking that magazine I had a spare weekend for myself and decided to record the video. I’ve written down what I wanted to say. I recorded 5 takes of the same story at home and while driving around. I’ve shot nice B-roll shots, etc. After that weekend I decided it’s all crap and I have nothing to say.
But then, the decision I made… I promised myself to actually submit it for the competition. No matter what. So the days went by and the deadline was approaching. On the next occasion I sat down and selected the best pieces of my footage.
Now it was time to put it together. Knowing how poorly I did in front of the camera I couldn’t force myself to sit down and edit it. I kept saying to myself that “I’m going to make fool of myself. There’s probably dozens os excellent submissions.” etc. So I postponed and procrastinated. The day before the deadline I worked on putting it together but slowly and passively. “It doesn’t make sense”.
Shipping the sucker
And then the decision and the deadline. After ending my work day at 5 PM I still had around 7 hours till the deadline. I stayed at the office and pushed through. Almost crying at the pointlessness of the work I was putting it together. I was reviewing my poor monologues and shitty b-roll. I was looking for acceptable background music. I worked on timing and synchronisation. I tried to create a story out of it. What has proven to be my ally was that they only wanted 60 seconds of video. Having so little usable footage I was quite happy about this limitation :)
So around 11PM, exhausted and totally confused about what I made I submitted the video. It’s was so embarrassed by it that I even didn’t decide to make it public on YouTube. It’s available under a secret link. It’s so bad compared to what I wanted it to be. Compared to what I can, could do…
And yet I won. No the results aren’t out yet. I won the internal battle. I’ve shipped the sucker and I feel like I won. I don’t even care if I get to the 2nd round of the competition. I don’t care if the video makes sense. It’s all unimportant. What’s important is that I shipped the sucker and I’m DONE with this project. I acted on my decision and fulfilled my commitment to myself. To the Muse.
I can now move on to the next project. Having learned so much on this one I know the next video will be much better. And still the last video and the next one will be shitty for me from the perspective of the future. But they’re a necessary part of learning and growth.
Mental notes for the future projects. First the story wasn’t good enough. I should have spent more time on what I want to say. I should have spent ANY time on planning the visuals and how it’s supposed to look. The b-rolls, the visuals, etc.
Second thing to improve is the intonation in front of the camera. It turns out that camera takes away 50% of your energy. So when talking to the camera I need to exaggerate, I need to be passionate and energetic. That’s the recipe for engaging content!