Last week as part of Praxis curriculum I set out to make a 90-second pitch video of myself to use on my business profile.
At the beginning of the week, I had an organized plan outlining each aspect of the project that I needed to complete. It seemed foolproof. On Tuesday afternoon I arrived at my shooting location only soon to realize that this assignment was not going to be as simple as I’d hoped.
I rarely get nervous for interviews. Although I consider myself an introvert, I’m very comfortable speaking to strangers or even to a group of people.
So, when I was faced with a camera last Tuesday, I couldn’t understand why my voice sounded weird, I was forgetting all my lines, and my face was doing all sorts of weird twitchy movements I’ve never seen before. I quickly came to the realization that I wasn’t going to be able to finish filming in the hour left until sunset. I packed up and decided to try again the next day.
The rest of the week followed in a similar fashion. After two more attempts outdoors, I figured out that Miami humidity and sunshine were not my friends for this assignment. On my fourth attempt, I moved indoors and set up a beautiful backdrop and scene around me. Although I was feeling more comfortable this time around, the distance between my phone and body caused the audio quality to suffer. I edited the video as best I could but still was not 100% with the final result.
The next day, I redid my entire approach. I set up my front-facing iPhone camera on a tripod very close to my face. I went through about a dozen takes but with each take I remembered more and more of my script. Eventually, I came up with two takes that I was proud of. Because I did my video all in one take, the only editing I needed to do was to trim the beginning and end of me turning on and off the camera.
I ended up being really happy with my final video. After a week of reflection, this is what I learned:
I suck at speaking to cameras. Although I was able to produce the desired result at the end of the week, it took many trials and errors. With the ever-increasing popularity and success of video marketing, this is a weakness I need to work on. I plan to do a project where I either speak to a camera daily or start a video series on something that interests me.
If you’re new to it, simple is better. I have a love for anything beautiful, artistic or inspirational. When I received this assignment, my initial reaction was to go big and produce something amazing and different. I quickly was slapped in the face with a learning curve. After many failures with filming and video editing, the best result ended up being the most straightforward version that I could produce.
It’s normal to be nervous. After much research on YouTubers, actors, and other Praxis participants, I quickly realized that everyone feels some form of discomfort in front of a camera. It’s very unnatural to sit in front of a camera and pretend like you’re talking to a person. The whole experience makes you acutely sensitive to everything from your voice, face, words, posture etc. I found the best way to overcome this was talking to the camera for about 15 minutes before I started filming. Doing this helped release some of the nerves as well as get more comfortable with looking straight into the camera lens.