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In 2014, I “learned” how to be a videographer. Although, a better phrase might be “taught myself through repeated failures and assorted Google searches.” Either way, I’ve grown immensely and now I feel more confident in my film abilities.
Of course, the time has come to begin editing footage. Now is when I will see just how wonderful (or truly awful) my shots are.
I know a handful of videographers now, and I watch their (stinking amazing) work with envy. A good editor can make a video great, but you have to start with great shots.
I take mental notes of their shots and try to imagine how to replicate it. Did they use a monopod? Were they laying on the ground for that angle? What kind of lens did they use?
Filming isn’t as point-and-shoot as I thought it would be. You need creativity and curiosity, experimenting with different angles and levels and exposure. Sometimes I would stand outside of a building where Heath was working for 15 minutes trying to think of different ways to shoot the look of the building. How would Travel Channel shoot this? What would be a really different, funky way to shoot this? I would ask myself.
There’s a certain finesse to producing good videos, but there’s no set method.
I love that about film. With writing, there are certain rules. You need subject-verb agreement and you’re supposed to use punctuation correctly and never misspell anything. There’s some freedom to blogging, but if my high school English teacher read my blog, she would probably send me a nasty email about dangling participles.
But there are a lot less rules with film and a lot more freedom. Or perhaps I just never learned them in my Google searches…
I had 200 days of film experience in 2014 (number of days we were on the road), a few more here in 2015. I’m not the best. I’m new.
I like describing myself as new, because it comforts me. When you’re new, you don’t have to be amazing instantly, you can keep learning. When you’re new, mistakes are overlooked as part of the learning curve.
It’s a freeing mindset, and one that I’m trying to carry over into other aspects in my life. Since I’m only 24, I’m pretty new at everything. I’m a new writer, a new wife, a new RVer. I don’t have to be successful yet. I’m learning.
We named our RV Franklin after Franklin the Turtle. Did you ever read those books as a kid? Or see the cartoon perhaps? We chose Franklin because like a turtle, our RV is slow. But, slow and steady wins the race. We may have driven slowly, but we knew one day we would drive that RV from coast-to-coast.
This is the mindset that makes me better videographer, and our mentality for Hourly America, remembering that slow and steady wins the race as we try to produce our first ever documentary and as we try to write our first books.
Keeping this mentality opens me up to a world of possibilities that I wouldn’t have seen before.
I’m willing to learn, even though it happens at tortoise-pace.
I’m willing to make mistakes, share imperfect work, and be publicly terrible.
I’m not afraid to keep trying new things.
I’m not afraid to ask stupid questions. (It once took me a week to figure out how to get my camera back to manual mode after a nob accidentally got turned. Yikes.)
I’m not stuck in a rut because when you’re new, you’re not set in your ways.
When you remember that you have time–time to fail now, and time to win the race later–you stop putting so much pressure on yourself and free yourself up to learn more. Incidentally, you become a better person. You create better art and you build a better business.
That’s my attitude toward videography and this mindset continues to help me grow into a better videographer (a better writer, a better wife). For now, I’m a newbie, free to make mistakes. But slowly, I will learn and improve, free from the fear of failure, because I know slow and steady wins the race. All I have to do is keep trying.
*To learn more about film, I just signed up for an online course called Capture + Share. My friend Wes Wages has done video work for years, and recently has started sharing his wisdom. I’ve learned so much from the free videos on his site, and I can’t wait to learn more through his course!