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Lessons in making a vote for me video

Lessons in making a vote for me video
A not bad vote for me video

    Ever do a truly crappy job at something you cared about? That was me a month ago when I put together my first YouTube video. I did it – God forgive me for my sins – because the organizer of the Business of Software Conference in a fit of Pure Evil decided the only way for speakers to get on was to do a vote for me video.

    For an awful lot of people out there in videoland pointing a camera at yourself seems to come as naturally as snorting apple pie from your nose: I am not by nature that kind of guy. I’d rather visit my dentist, and he hates me.

    Terrible, awful, horrible did not describe it. By comparison, I made Al Gore look like Madonna. My horror compounded as I realized that soon, other Evil conference organizers would undoubtedly follow suit and I faced a dismal bleak future of more of these damn video tryouts. From evil conference organizers the virus would spread to publishers, clients, prospective bosses and more and more people caught the YouTube bug.

    After a month of sleepless nights and depressed days agonizing over what to do in this Brave New Video World, a strange golden light surrounded me early yesterday morning and an amazing calm filled me. A godlike voice said in my head, “This is television dummy! There’s always a take 2!”

    I woke realizing I’d fallen asleep watching the movie Network, but the godlike voice (GLV to his friends) was right – video is here to stay, and this old dog better learn some new video tricks right quick if he wanted to be up on that speaking stage.

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    So here’s the tricks I learned creating my second video vote for me, just in case you find yourself in the same video or die situation:

    Do not perform unnatural acts on Television. And the most unnatural act of all in TVLand is to talk into one fixed camera position for grinding minute after minute. Television jumps. Right. Left. Close up. Pan back. Television changes its visual point of view anywhere from every 6 seconds for commercials and game shows to maybe as long as 20 seconds for talking heads and major disasters. We are all conditioned to see television that way – and bucking the flow is not going to work. So you need to chop up your video and film it from different angles.

    Do what good Directors do. Steal. Okay, not actually steal – more like buy for incredibly few dollars. In the same way a good stock photo from iStockPhoto is worth the dollar it will cost you, iStockPhoto.com has about 45,000 video clips you can by for $10 a pop. You at the beginning, 5 stock videos with you voiceovering, you at the end in case they forgot what you’re trying to sell them and your done.

    You call this a script? On my first attempt, I wrote up some notes, and winged it. Winging it unless you are dressed in a chicken suit does not work on television. Having a script right in front of you that you’ve read 23 times until you’re sick of it and can mumble it in your sleep does. Write a script. Learn the script. This is television.

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    Good video means use small words. I’ve been railing at TV news for years because instead of soberly discussing the parameters of a given political/economic/socialogical nexus of import they talk in short little words that a sixth grade boy or girl would be fine with. Guess what? I was wrong.

    When we are in television receiving mode and 90% of our brain is busy following the action from film jump cut here to over there, it’s too damn hard to process complicated audio. It don’t work. So if you are going to make your video visually interesting by using a variety of shots and subjects you’d better dumb down your presentation from observing Lepidopterans to see the pretty butterfly otherwise you’re audience will tune out and turn off.

    Words reinforce images reinforce words. I went back and forth between writing the script and riffling iStockPhoto’s video library – back and forth. Looking for the right images to make each main point and then rewrite your script to use language and metaphor that fits the videos. You want to tie the words to the images and the images to the words.

    The Right Tool is the Right Tool. For me, Apple iMovie ’08 is incredible. It made all the pain of putting together my second video go away – whoosh! Doing the voiceover, doing title, adjusting the clips and transitioning between shots was dirt easy. Awesome product.

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    The smaller the screen, the faster you’d better speak. As I watch my video again I realized my speaking speed is still way too slow: what moved right along when I was working with the video covering most of my screen seems way too slow when looking at a YouTube postage stamp sized screen.

    This just in from my friend corporate video producer Tom The Director who’s forgotten more about making videos than I’ll ever learn:

    “Suggestion…SMILE!!!! :-) I remember our conversation on the phone and your smile is missing from this video.

    I dealt with a CEO today of a major corporation who refused to smile. If you say nothing but only smile, you’ll change the world. Words are really extra stuff. Smile, then words. That’s my mantra :-)”

    That’s my list of video tips for now. By the way, Neil Davidson, the Evil Conference Organizer was nice enough to let me put my second video up (I think removing the pins from my Neil Davidson Voodoo Doll helped). And last Sunday, I got the word I’d made the final cut.

    Who says you can’t teach an old analog dog new digital tricks?

    Bob Walsh by day helps microISVs (software startups) succeed at 47hats.com, by night sells MasterList Professional, flogs his second book, Clear Blogging, podcasts and blogs about different aspects of the digital lifestyle. Is it surprising he hears voices in his head?

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    Last Updated on May 17, 2019

    This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

    This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

    The pursuit of worthwhile goals is a part of what makes life enjoyable. Being able to set a goal, then see yourself progress towards achieving that goal is an amazing feeling.

    But do you know the biggest obstacle for most people trying to achieve their goals, the silent dream killer that stops people before they ever even get started? That obstacle is the comfort zone, and getting stuck there is bound to derail any efforts you make towards achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself.

    If you want to achieve those goals, you’ll have to break free from your comfort zone. Let’s take a look at how your life will change once you build up the courage to leave your comfort zone.

    What Is the Comfort Zone?

    The comfort zone is defined as “a behavioural state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance.”

    What stands out to me the most about that definition is the last part: “using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance.” How many successful people do you know who deliver a steady level of performance?

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    The goal in life is to continually challenge yourself, and continually improve yourself. And in order to do that, you have move out of your comfort zone. But once you do, your life will start to change in ways you could never have imagined. I know because it’s happening right now in my own life.

    Here’s what I’ve learned.

    1. You will be scared

    Leaving your comfort zone isn’t easy. In fact, in can be downright terrifying at times, and that’s okay. It’s perfectly normal to feel a little trepidation when you’re embarking on a journey that forces you to try new things.

    So don’t freak out or get overwhelmed when you feel yourself getting a little scared. It’s perfectly normal and all part of the process. What’s important is that you don’t let that fear hold you back. You must continue to take action in the face of fear.

    That’s what separates winners from losers.

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    2. You will fail

    Stepping out of your comfort zone means you’re moving into uncharted territory. You’re trying things that you’ve never tried before, and learning things you’ve never learned before.

    That steep learning curve means you’re not going to get everything right the first time, and you will eventually fail when you move out of your comfort zone. But as long as the failures aren’t catastrophic, it can actually be a good thing to fail because …

    3. You will learn

    Failure is the best teacher. I’ve learned more from each one of my failures than I have from each one of my successes. When you fail small, and fail often, you rapidly increase the rate at which you learn new insights and skills. And that new knowledge, if applied correctly, will eventually lead to your success.

    4. You will see yourself in a different way

    Once you move out of your comfort zone, you immediately prove to yourself that you’re capable of achieving more than you thought was possible. And that will change the way you see yourself.

    Moving forward, you’ll have more confidence in yourself whenever you step out of your comfort zone, and that increased confidence will make it more likely that you continue to step outside your comfort zone. And each time you do, you’ll prove to yourself again and again what you’re really capable of.

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    5. Your peers will see you in a different way

    Whether we want to admit or not, people judge other people. And right now, people view you in a certain way, and they have a certain idea of what you’re capable of. That’s because they’ve become accustomed to seeing you operate in your comfort zone.

    But once you move out of your comfort zone, you’ll prove to other people, as well, that you’re capable of much more than you’ve shown in the past.

    The increased confidence other people place in you will bring about more opportunities than ever before.

    6. Your comfort zone will expand

    The good thing about the comfort zone is that it’s flexible and malleable. With each action you take outside of your comfort zone, it expands. And once you master that new skill or action, it eventually becomes part of your comfort zone.

    This is great news for you because it means that you can constantly increase and improve upon the behaviors that you’re comfortable with. And the more tools and skills you have at your disposal, the easier it will be to achieve your goals.

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    7. You will increase your concentration and focus

    When you’re living inside of your comfort zone, the bulk of your actions are habitual: automatic, subconscious, and requiring limited focus.

    But once you move out of your comfort zone, you no longer rely on those habitual responses. You’re forced to concentrate and focus on the new action in a way you never do in your comfort zone.

    8. You will develop new skills

    Moving out of your comfort zone requires that you develop new skills. One of the many benefits you’ll experience is that you’ll be stepping away from the “limited set of behaviors” and start to develop your ability and expertise in new areas.

    Living inside of your comfort zone only requires a limited skill set, and those skills won’t contribute much to your success. Once you can confidently step outside of your comfort zone and learn a new skill, there’s no limit to how much you can achieve.

    9. You will achieve more than before

    With everything that happens once you move out of your comfort zone, you’re naturally going to achieve more than ever before.

    Your increased concentration and focus will help you develop new skills. Those new skills will change the way you see yourself, encouraging you to step even further out of your comfort zone.

    Featured photo credit: Josef Grunig via farm3.staticflickr.com

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