Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beware -- Making your own videos could be dangerous for your image!

With the proliferation of cameras on every type of electronic device, we have access to more video than we can consume these days.  And everyone assumes it’s as easy as turning your camera phone on someone or something, uploading to YouTube and BAM “hey I make Internet videos.” 

I don’t create videos as a hobby.  In fact, I hardly have any “home video” of my own family because I don’t want to work when I’m at home or on vacation.  And the consumer tools for what I do are so…well, how do I put this nicely… NOT professional, that it makes me CRAZY to even think about using them for personal projects. 

I am a professional storyteller and I do it with moving pictures and sound.  And I have clients who need my skills and talent to communicate their stories.  But my part of the industry is a niche for sure.  And it is a conundrum of how to explain it.  There are nuances to persuasive messaging, intelligent storytelling – and as a director, writer, editor, producer I have to understand the end goal for my clients so I can finesse the visuals and sound to resonate with the audience.  It’s a skill, it requires experience and a gentle manner to coax meaningful content from your average everyday (read: not-media trained) person.

Perhaps an analogy will help explain what I do:  You want to build a house that is beautiful, safe, well-laid out and works for your family’s lifestyle, but won’t be the most expensive house on the block when you are done.  The kid down the street just got a new truck and tool box and has a bunch of friends who are eager to work, and they will build your house for cheap.  But they know nothing about building.  They don’t have insurance and are very likely to hurt themselves and possibly your family because of their lack of experience.   However, my company is one of the best contractors in town, who has done many high-quality custom homes.  All our subs are very experienced, safe and we carry insurance because we are professionals.  We charge for our services because that experience will produce a much higher-quality, longer lasting product than you would get elsewhere. 

I have recently received solicitations from SEO companies offering to teach my company how to produce videos.  I find this laughable when I read some of their “free” suggestions.  Yes, go ahead and “make” a video of someone yapping into iPhone camera, and you might get some hits on You Tube.  But if you really want to effectively tell your story with video and sound, make an impression on your audience and stand out from the rest, please use a professional.

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