Thursday, 22 November 2012

How I Started Making Videos

My boss went to film school, so when he decided that his company needed to look into in-house video production for product videos, he knew what he was getting into. While he was planning an entry to the world of online how-to videos I had no idea what was going on. I was going nuts on mat leave, bored and lonely. I was also concerned about the future because although I was technically on maternity leave, I did not have a job to return to.

A former co-worker told me she was leaving the company just as they were getting ready to start a new, kind of crazy project. She asked to meet me and told me about what was going on and what the project might be. I told her I was interested and that I would love to come back to work ASAP!!! (as long as I could find child-care). So, she relayed my thoughts to the bosses, we scheduled a meeting and I came in, looking like a new mom, haggard and frazzled.

They asked me about my experience with video production. None, other than what I’ve absorbed through osmosis from my father and growing up around a news studio.

They asked me about my experience with photography.

Minimal portrait taking for a chain studio. I had a vague understanding of 3-point lighting and NO idea how to properly use a camera. Again, I’d picked stuff up through being around amateur photographers, former professional photographers, and former news camera operators but I had never had more than a passing run-down of camera technology, let alone composition, technique, focus-pulling, etc... They asked me if I was interested in learning.

Hell yes. I love a challenge.

Good enough, they said.

I was fortunate enough to have an understanding of where to start and to have bosses willing to hire pros to teach me. We recruited a producer, a director of photography and an editor to show me the ropes. I had a week with the producer, two days with the DOP and two days with the editor. They tried to cram 4 years of film school into that brief time.

That was 3 years ago.

If you go back and look at our early efforts it is quite obvious that we had no idea what we were doing. I was still getting the hang of the camera, afraid to change any settings lest I did something I could not un-do. My “talent” - although a great teacher and an expert in his field- had never been on camera before. He was stiff and formal, obviously self-conscious and just as afraid as I was.

We are still learning ever day. Luckily, I am no longer afraid of my camera. I have read and re-read the manual so many times, trying to figure out how to get the most out of it. The pros we hired gave me a starting point. They gave me enough information to pick up the camera to shoot and sit down to edit the resulting footage. The main thing I needed to start producing our videos was the confidence to learn.

We started with nothing more than a goal. We wanted to make videos instructing customers how to properly install 500 of our top-selling parts. We knew how to provide the instructions. We had a clear idea of what we wanted to show customers so all we had to do was shoot it.

Video production takes time. I am constantly learning. I continue to read books, I am still taking courses and attending workshops but the most important thing I do is I shoot. I keep shooting videos, I keep editing, I keep writing scripts and I keep experimenting with my camera. Practice will never make me perfect, but it will make me better.

Get a camera, start shooting, read the manual, prepare for terrible footage, learn.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Handmade Holiday MADNESS!

Things are starting to improve at home. Husband's meds seem to have stabilized and he can enjoy things again. It's still not all sunshine and rainbows, but it's also not soul-crushing despair either. As with all meds, there are side-effects but we are dealing with them as they come. I'm feeling better about being there for him, since I'm coming to terms with the fact that that is really all I can do.

We are at the beginning of our busy holiday/birthday season. We have 5 birthdays plus Christmas in the next 3 months. I'm trying to get the drop on gifts and making as much as possible, but I also am working on a big commissioned project for which I will actually get paid. The project is about three-quarters done but the final quarter is always the hardest, often taking twice as long as everything else (I'm looking at you, Alica's wedding present!)(it still isn't done yet...).

I have 3 gifts finished, plus Husband's request which wasn't really a gift, more of a challenge (beard hat). I'm working on 5 more gifts, with additional plans if I have the time.

I'm ambitious and slightly insane but I also think I have a good estimate of my abilities. I should be able, at the very least, to finish the things I have started. As for purchased gifts, we have MIL started, Little Brother complete, niece started and Monkey started. I have to purchase something for BsIL 1 and 2, SsIL 1 and 2, The Boys (4 nephews) and FIL.

Our family will be the last on the priority list. We have one big-ticket item on lay-away and that will probably be the only big thing we get each other.

Monday, 5 November 2012

What Do I Do Now?

Life is a little weird right now. Things are good but there is stuff going on that I don't really know how to process, let alone deal with, move passed and build upon.

Husband has recently been diagnosed with depression.

Yeah, not a big deal, millions of people are diagnosed with and treated for depression every year. I'm proud of him for getting the help he needs and I have promised him that I will do anything and everything in my power to be there for him in whatever way necessary. I love him and want nothing more than for him to be healthy so that our kids have a functioning, involved, loving Daddy.

The problem comes from me not really knowing what to do with myself. I have told him I support him, no matter what. I have let him know that if he ever needs to talk about anything, I am here for him. I am trying to continue on as if everything is normal but we both know it's not normal. He says there's nothing actually wrong so there's nothing for him to talk about. He just feels like shit all the time and needs something to balance out his lows.

He's not sad any more, but the drugs also take away his happys. He doesn't seem to have the same joy. His ambition is gone. A minor example, normally he loves Halloween, goes all-out with a huge, homemade costume. This year he almost didn't have one. He got a great costume together at the last minute (two-face to go with our oldest's Bat-Girl). It just takes a lot more effort for him to give a damn.

This is where my problem comes in. I can handle him in a low mood, I can deal with the anger, with the desire to be left alone and the short-temper. I'm not sure how to deal with someone who does not seem to take any joy in things. We have two small children who need someone to celebrate the joy in life with them. I want someone who will passionately throw themselves into things around the house, someone who wants things.

I know these things take time, that treating depression is an unrefined science with many different treatments to try. Nothing works for everyone and it always takes time to figure out what will work for each individual. I do not expect an over-night cure where a magic pill takes away his lows but allows him to keep his highs. I am happy that he is trying to get better and that he wants to be healthy. I am proud of him and I love him. I just never expected it to be this hard to just sit by and wait.

Friday, 26 October 2012

50% of shooting video is waiting...

While I wait for my Talent to finish his "Real Job" I am working on some crafts. This Smaug-Lock is the only non-gift that I am working on, so it's the only thing I'm going to post. For now. He is based on an illustration I was given during the Hobbit craft-swap I participated in earlier this year. He's awesome. For those unfamiliar with the cast of the upcoming Hobbit movie, Smaug is voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Sherlock Holmes in BBC adaptation of Sherlock. Bilbo is being played by Martin Freeman, or Dr. John Watson in the same series.

Things have been both extremely busy and kind of slow. There are days that drag on because I'm doing something boring, but necessary, such as keeping my spreadsheets up to date and there are days where it feels like I can't get any one thing accomplished because I am trying to do 5 things at once. Shooting days are both kinds of day at once. I spend a good chunk of my day waiting for The Talent to get ready but once we start shooting there are 5 things to do at once.

With our set-up I am fortunate to only have to wait for one person. If we had a bigger crew there would be more people to organize and there would probably be a lot more waiting. I'm not very good with waiting so I have these crafts and my spreadsheets to keep me "busy."

Monday, 15 October 2012


Do you know what the best part about being a producer is? The spreadsheets. Ok, I’m lying but not really. I have found that my best organizational tool is an old-fashioned Excel spreadsheet. I can keep track of what I have to shoot, when I’m going to shoot it, what parts are on the shot list, what parts I have ordered, what part I have yet to order, how much everything costs, what I have to edit, when it was edited, what the embed code is, what shoots had problems, what those problems were, etc... All that on just one spreadsheet! I have many more that have key pieces of data that I need to understand for any particular video.

That said, the hardest (read; most boring, tedious, time-consuming) part of my job is updating the spreadsheets. When I had an assistant it was easier but now that I’m a one woman operation I have to actually update all of the spreadsheets myself. And as I update the spreadsheets, I get crazy ideas about new spreadsheets to keep track of more specific pieces of information and it all just snowballs until I look at the clock and realize I haven’t even started to cut today’s video.

The strangest part? I have no idea how to properly use Excel. Our HR/Accounting super-hero has to set everything up for me. And then I ask her to do crazy impossible things like “Count all the videos that have an embed code and no edited on date” and she can actually show me how to do it. I am starting to suspect that Excel runs on some sort of magic.

That’s the glamorous life of a repair video producer. My mornings are spent emailing, meeting, thinking, reviewing, spread-sheeting (it’s a verb now) and occasionally script-writing. My afternoons are spent in the glorious realm of editing where time does not exist (video editors know exactly what I mean). None of this would be possible without my spreadsheets. I would be completely lost and have no way of finding myself without them.

One of these days I will actually learn how to use them.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


I have so many ideas bouncing around in my head. Not quite brain-crack ideas (look it up) but almost. Some of them are specific projects I can work on for my day job, some of them are less specific but still for the day job and some of them are dreams of things I would love to do if I had the time and/or money.

I won't go into the specific work-related projects here because they are bordering on proprietary but the non-work one should probably be hashed out and released to the wild.

Inspired by The Lizzie Bennet Diaries I would love to make a vlog-style webseries based on one of the following books - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Lord of the Rings, Romeo and Juliet (or anything by Shakespeare), Neverwhere, or something by Kurt Vonnegut.

I've also been watching more YouTube educational/thought-provoking stuff like Crash Course and PBS Idea Channel and I would love to do something like that where I can explore philosophy, history, (pop) culture, literature, a little science and big ideas, probably something that would specifically relate to feminism and women's studies.

I'll probably keep these ideas percolating for a little while. Most of my creative energy until Christmas will be spent crocheting 10 Doctor Who characters for a friend's husband.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

I'm not a Feminist but... Ok, I'm totally a Feminist

Something wonderful was happening and I didn't even know it! Feminist Frequency has been funded to make a BOATLOAD of videos about female tropes in video games. If you haven't seen Anita Sarkeesian's series about general tropes of women in pop culture, you should got watch it right now!

Now, as with anything worth doing on the internet, trolls were involved. I'm not going to repeat anything the trolls have said here, but use your imagination. It's about 110% worse than that.

I'm excited to see what Anita can do with the money she raised. I'm thrilled that a feminist pop culture expert is able to devote herself 100% to making kickass feminist videos and I'm anxious to see where this takes feminism on YouTube and in videos games.

That said, I'm disappointed in this article from New Media Rockstars.

The first two paragraphs are informative and make some attempt at impartiality. The rest of the article is full of dismissive statements, unacknowledged privilege and veiled sexism.

"I emailed Anita in an attempt to get some clarity with this whole thing, but as of this story going to press, I have not heard from her. I guess she’s busy playing all those video games the Internet bought her."

This makes the reporter sound like one of the trolls he was keen to deride in the same article. Damn right she's busy playing the video games the internet bought her. How is Anita supposed to make a groundbreaking video about female tropes in video games without first hand experience? We need an authentic voice speaking to the good and bad qualities of women's portrayal in every aspect of media. Video games have long been vexing feminists and now that our generation has grown up gaming we need to engage in an ADULT conversions about what these female characters do to and for the rest of us, the same way we discuss how women are portrayed in movies, on television and in books.

I would love to know what Sarkeesian thinks of Lara Croft, the female protagonist of the hugely popular Tomb Raider series. Sure, she wears hot pants and has a bust-to-torso ratio that would make Barbie jealous, but she’s a strong, independent, woman with her own business (even if Tomb Raiding seems likely illegal) and no male figurehead upon whom she depends. Is that the feminist ideal?

No, Lara Croft is not a feminist ideal. Some aspects of her character are admirable but if you look at the whole Lara Croft package she was not written or designed to emulate real, relate-able, strong women. She would fall under the trope of "fighting f*&k toy" that Anita has listed as the topic for video #2. She is a one dimensional character with daddy issues who, while extremely tough, is there to be ogled and almost all of her interactions are with men, either helping or hindering her in her quest.

In my mind, women can have compelling story arcs and not just be background fodder or arm candy for the male character, and they can even look good doing it. But maybe I am just a sort-of troll myself — one who writes in longform?

At least you're a self-aware troll. That's an improvement.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

YouTube News

YouTube has recently hidden tags from regular users and as of today from API users as well. This seems to be a move to help eliminate the "Reply Girls" and their ilk. YT's problem is not necessarily with the provocative thumbnails (HotForWords anyone?) but with the "content" these "Reply Girls" are creating. Their MO seems to be make a video response to a popular YTer, copy their tags so that their reply comes up in search and not add any value to any converstion while potentially diverting or distracting views from the original, valuable content. Tags will still remain an important part of YTs search algorithm but the exact content of the tags will only be known to the creators and YT/Google.

Along this vein, YT is also S...L...O...W...L...Y rolling out customizable thumbnails to all monetized partners. Both of these changes are necessary for improving YT's push for better, easier to identify, high-quality content. Keeping tags mostly private and allowing for customizable thumbnails should add to the quality of YouTube overall. Everyone is pumped about the thumbnails, as they well should be. Thumbnails are at least as important as titles. Without the customizable thumbnails we have very little control over what still of our video gets seen in the search results or in the suggested videos column.

With all this, I have been wondering if YT is going to continue to improve "find-ability" since one of the major problems we encounter is with YT's search algorithms. In theory we should see most of our views coming from YT search. Our types are not ones that people randomly come across when they are looking for entertainment. We offer specialized instructions for specific parts. Viewers should not have to take the long way (search, find one video that kind of looks like what they need, see our video in "Suggested Videos" and click on the thumbnail) to find us. They should be able to search in YouTube for the problem and directly find our video. Right now, YT is smart enough to put our channel there for advertising purposes, but none of our videos are near the top of the results.

Friday, 24 August 2012

My Life as a Producer

Being a producer is a lot like being an executive assistant, or an HR person. There is far more running around, cleaning up other people’s messes and organizing unruly employees than you’d think. I organize and manage my own time, my videographer’s time and my talent’s time. I liaise between marketing, public relations/the press, and the execs. I do the (sometimes literally) dirty work or at the very least ensure that the dirty work is done. I write, I edit, I plan, and I worry. If something goes wrong, it is my fault.

There is actually very little creative work done for instructional videos. I am trying to launch some new ideas however I have to wait for the marketing team to develop some strategies and adapt their own ideas. I create many things but the work is as much technical and organizational as it is creative. I’m mostly stuck expressing myself though crochet.

I frequently dream of producing something a little more me, an extension of my interests and life but I worry that there are already so many other vlogs and video content that I will get lost in the fray and never make an impact.

So I will stick to our repair videos, occasionally making some fun or informational content and I will continue to crochet. Check out this guy!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

And this is why we will (probably) never be Internet Famous

I read ReelSEO almost every day to keep abreast of the goings on in the world of online video. I've taken courses, I occasionally comment (not often, I hate commenting with the Facebook login thing) and I subscribe to their YT Channel.

Today I read their article called Schmooze Optimization: What it is and Why it Expands Views, Engagement, and Earnings on YouTube and I was reminded of why I will probably never be internet famous. Excellent article if you get past the name-dropping. It puts a different spin on the "Collaborate, collaborate" mantra I hear so often in the online video world.

It was never really my dream to be internet famous, but over the last few years I have dreamed of rubbing elbows with the execs at Maker Studios, Revision3 or plain old DeFranco Inc. I would not give my first born but maybe her favorite toy to work on a project with any of the above.

Unfortunately I live in a bad place to integrate myself into the network of online video schmoozers. We have a surprising number of Hollywood movies and the occasional TV series shot in our backyard (Hobo with a Shotgun, Call me Fitz, Picnic Face are all local productions) but the online video community is miniscule. I went to a Women in Film and Television conference this year and I was the ONLY ONE doing online video exclusively.

What I'm trying to say is, I want to schmooze. I want to rub elbows and talk shop and be involved in the community I love but location and a reluctance to uproot my family prevent that.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Husbands (not mine, the series)

Just watched the entire first season of "Husbands" after coming across the second season premiere. I'm in love. I'm not usually a huge fan of sitcoms but husbands has a unique combination of new (gay marriage) and old (how newlyweds navigate marriage). It's written by a BtVS writer and true to pedigree, it's witty, sharp and totally lovable. Joss Whedon guest-stars and has some awesome dialogue ("Voice like a tulip, eyelashes I can fucking hear through the phone").

The big change for season 2 is the length. Season 1 was 11 2 minute-long episodes but as online video has grown in popularity longer format videos have become more popular. I prefer the longer format for sitcoms. I have a tendency to watch all episodes in a marathon run when they are shorter format. Season 2 is 3 9 minute long episodes.

The best part about online is the freedom. They can do a series about a gay married ballplayer with explicit dialogue and not worry about censors. So far there has not been any explicit action and I don't expect there to be. This has a genuine sitcom feel and looks like it would be appropriate on an open-minded network.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

One More Re-Shoot

I finally heard back from the marketing department regarding the "with Kids" video and they requested I re-shoot 2 lines... 2. That's it.

I am in an extremely fortunate position. Re-shoots are not a big deal because we shoot weekly on the same set anyway so it won't cost us much in terms of time or money. Other productions don't have that luxury.

Hopefully I can get this last piece of the puzzle shot tomorrow and that will be the end of it.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Scripts and Being Sick

I am currently trying to write some scripts for non-repair videos. This is a side project for stuff that may never be done but I need to get them written. I have a vision on a small (5 episode) series on appliance cleaning and cleaning with homemade cleaning products.I've got a script on homemade laundry detergent and I'm working on one for cleaning with baking soda.

The big problem is that I have a cold. I am struggling with the dopey-headed, drug-induced stupidity that comes with it. I have the attention span of a 2 year-old and the energy of an overfed house cat. I'm even having trouble focusing on this, and this isn't "officially" work.

I have the scripts in my head, I'm just not in a state to get them out as painlessly as usual. I keep watching and reading things about the miraculous powers of baking soda and I am completely uninspired.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

The Worlds of Viral Video from PBS

Where is online video going? Where is the line between advertiser and producer? I keep thinking we are using an old model in new ways when we talk about producers and advertisers becoming one. When television was in its infancy individual shows were sponsored by individual advertisers, with the products worked into the content in whatever way possible. The videos I make are very similar. We tread a line between product demonstration and general knowledge instruction. This gives us the unique opportunity to have consent content development and the materials for constant output. Granted, sometimes we will shoot 3 (or more) variations or the same repair but we are starting to move beyond just the part-specific instructional videos.

As we develop more creative content I am faced with the reality that although we are among the pioneers of online video in our specific branch of retail we are far from the pioneers of online how-to videos. We will have to find our voice in the chorus and work on what makes us stand out. We have aspirations and grand designs but we need to develop some very specific skills before we can get too much further down the creative content road. We are just getting the hang of written content and now I am pushing for video content.

So, I'm signing up for every course I can with the local film co-ops and I'm writing as many scripts as I can even if I never plan on using them.

Monday, 30 July 2012

YouTube News

A fairly well-known YouTube musician has been arrested on child porn charges.

As YouTube grows and becomes a launching ground for more entertainment careers there will be more stories like this. The Internet seems to bring out the worst in some people, including the content creators. YouTube is no exception. The conversation needs to be about how to educate potential perpetrators that this is wrong, that asking underage girls (or boys for that matter) for explicit material or providing them explicit material is sexual assault.

The victim-blaming that I have seen is disgusting and although parental involvement with online activities is necessary the girls in question are not at fault here. They were exploited by a man who has no interest in their well-being. Sure, you can argue that 18 is an arbitrary age for determining sexual autonomy when so many young people are engaged in sexual relationships there needs to be a line. 18 years is the best line we have and the ambiguity of sex is cleared up a little bit with that line.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Re-shoots and Backups

Working on editing the video for the past few days:P I had a minor disagreement with our Community Manager/Marketing Director (I have no idea what her official title is. Hell, I'm still a little confused as to my own title...) who seems to have misunderstood what my storyboard was. It seems that she took the storyboard as a loose outline of what I was planning to shoot instead of a shot-by-shot representation of what I had planned. This resulted in me missing some scenes that she felt were vital to the flow of the piece.

Long story short, I had to re-shoot some scenes and turn pieces that I had intended to be voice-over only into actual clips for the video. I sent her a revision in the hopes that she would be able to let me know if the changes I made are satisfactory or if I need to book our child star in for another re-shoot in August.

To pass the time I have been working on tightening up the audio in the voice overs and ensuring that all the levels are the same. Our biggest obstacle as a whole is good audio. I have been trying really hard to focus on improving our sound but without any formal training in sound I'm running into some difficulties.

Other than that I have registered for a data management workshop in the city in August. I am hoping that I will learn how to best streamline data storage in post so that I am less likely to lose anything important. So far it looks like we've only lost a small bit of unnecessary footage from last year's staff BBQ but that is more lost that I want. I've got to re-think how we store data and conduct our backups.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Voice Overs Will Cover a Multitude if Sins

We have finished our shoot with our child star. I'm still waiting to do the voice overs but everything seems to be coming together beautifully. Our footage was great, our star was engaged with the material and our main star was engaged with our child star.

As I'm cutting everything together I am a little nervous about the voice overs. There isn't a lot of time that I want to spend away from the action. Right now I have everything around 3 minutes but there's a lot of "dead-air" with a little action and no dialogue. I'm hoping I can cut that down a little but with the voice-overs.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Tomorrow's the Big Day

We shoot our scenes with our child star for real tomorrow. I've been fighting the feeling that I'm forgetting something all week but that probably has to do with me taking a lot of time off this week for sick kids.

Everything is ready as far as I can prep for tomorrow. The rehearsal last week went great, much better than expected and I'm hoping we only improve on it tomorrow.Our rehearsal taught us a lot and I think we are going to make something fun and informational tomorrow. We have worked really hard to bring this all together and I'm going to be proud of what ever comes.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Rehearsal and an Unexpected Video

We had our official rehearsal with our child star yesterday. It went extremely well, we learned how to frame everything better, where we were going to need to focus the boom mic and how to get our kid to open up and participate.

An unexpected bonus was that during the "blocking" (for lack of a better term) for some b-roll our talent gave our kid a 20 minute long tutorial on just about every single tool in our arsenal. As a result I'm going to try to cut a series of videos explaining the tools we use from the footage we got. Luckily we were quick and got the boom on them properly. The only problem I'm encountering turning this into a usable, useful video is the lack of satisfactory close-ups of the tools. It's especially difficult for the screwdrivers. We have CUs of the bodies, but everyone knows what a screwdriver looks like, I want to see the differences in the blade, dammit.

Luckily the kid is the son of one of our CSRs so he fits in pretty well here. He was a little shy and when we gave him lines he didn't quite deliver them as I'd imagined. That said, it was his first time in front of a camera giving lines. Anyone would be a little stiff, especially a 12 year-old with little acting experience. He gave the best performance when he didn't realize the camera was on. I'm going to have to try to remember that next week.

All in all, it was a success. I'm excited to see what comes out of next week's shoot.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Post-Vidcon Online Video News

So I couldn't con(vince) my bosses into sending me to VidCon this year but that did not prevent me from obsessively following the news and entertainment stories that came out of the annual conference/convention.

Maker Studios has hit the 1 billion views per month mark, signed Snoop Dogg, and wrangled a former Disney Exec.

YouTube has introduced "Marketplace" to connect content creators and brands looking for an online presence. This really excites me since I work for a brand that has an online video presence. This opens up the possibility for us to work with some more-popular, more mainstream content creators without having to do a long term campaign. We would be able to connect with YouTubers with an audience similar to the one we already reach in order to give us a broader spectrum of influence.

The take-away from VidCon is that online video is growing faster than we can imagine. More money than I can comprehend is being poured into this growing industry and I am excited to play even just my small role in it.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Balancing Act

I am continuing the work on a script. I have rearranged the scenes so that safety is first (since safety should always come first). I think I have decided what repair to shoot, but the marketing folks tell me they are interested in something longer.

The issue with a longer repair is that I don’t want anything that’s going to be complicated, either for our star to do or for me to shoot. The longer repairs involve more tools, more close-ups and more angles to get everything in shot. My first priority is for our star to be comfortable. My second priority is for everything to look pretty. Making sure everything is a certain length of time is fairly low on my priority list.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Visit with our "Star"

Our new guest star visited the set today. I'm not sure what he thought of everything but he was extremely well-behaved and attentive. I think this will work out well. He and his mom didn't have too many questions but they seemed to enjoy themselves. He skipped class to be here since we thought school was done on Wednesday. Turns out it's not finished until next week. Oh well, I'm pretty sure he didn't miss anything important. I have also started working on some scripts for maintenance and care videos as filler for the diagnostic videos that are currently in limbo. I'm taking stuff the marketing team has been working on and turning into a video script.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Behind the Scenes

I’ve been experimenting with behind the scenes footage and have discovered a few things.

1) An iPhone 3GS is really awkward to record with for any length of time
2) My personal camcorder makes a really obnoxious sound when the auto-focus is operating
3) My personal camcorder has a stupidly short battery life.

The bts footage will be a challenge. I have a whole new respect for the people who shoot this stuff on a regular basis and make something useful and entertaining out of it. With the structure of a script or anything like that it’s hard to sort. Do I do it chronologically? That seems like the most likely way to organize everything, but I doubt it would be that entertaining.


Monday, 11 June 2012

Foggy-Headed, Wooly-Brained

I’m having one of those days where I feel like I have tapped my well of inspiration and it’s run dry by lunch hour. My brain feels foggy and slow, as it does most Mondays but due to my busyness this morning everything feels so much slower now. I keep forgetting my iphone cable at home so I’m stuck without even my behind-the-scenes footage to work with. I could always upload it from my phone to YouTube and edit it using YouTube’s editor. The bit of experimenting I’ve done with it leads me to believe that the editor would be suited for this kind of project. I would much rather do my editing with Final Cut. I’ve also tried exporting our videos using something other than the “Upload to YouTube” option built in to Final Cut. It seems to have worked very well, but I’m not sure if there are any tangible differences.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Story Boards with No Script!?

I’m thinking about starting a storyboard for the new video, even without a script. I think it might help me work out some of the things in my head and communicate them to the marketing team. I still can’t imagine having an actual script for this project until we are ready to record the voice overs but I need to have an actual plan. I’m still waiting to hear about casting our star. It’s been narrowed down and I have been led to believe that I will be taking some responsibility for choosing who will be on set with us.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012


Got the go-ahead to shoot behind the scenes for the new project. I’m going to start practicing with some behind the scenes for our regular videos. I’m not sure how I’ll manage two cameras at once but I’m sure it’s possible. I’ll probably just use my iPhone for now. If it works I may bring in my personal camera. The marketing folks don’t know if we will have any use for the behind the scenes footage for regular videos, but at the very least it will be practice for the new project.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Script Writing for an Unscripted Video

Working on the “Script” (such as it is) today. The Social Media team have sent me a list of questions to ask Steve to help them get an outline together. I’m starting to wonder how much work they are going to put into a script only to see NONE of it actually used. I’ll try wrangling a response from Steve, but I think this will end up being an interview tomorrow before or after we shoot our diagnostic video. I don’t expect any sort of usable script-based dialogue to come from our shoot. I plan on having a topic, a few shots to get and a series of questions to either ask our kid or get the kid to ask Steve. Most of the instruction and advice will be done after as a voice over.

New Project

I wrote the following while debating where this should live. For now it will be here, as a way to collect my thoughts about my most complicated video project to date.

June 1st, 2012
We’re starting a new project and it feels like I should be documenting this one. Natalie and the Social Media team contacted me about doing a video of Steve doing a repair with a child. They haven’t let me know many details yet so I am not clear about the specifics but the idea is that we have a video with Steve introducing a kid to the world of household repairs as a way to show parents what is or is not appropriate for a child to help with around the house. I have mostly been concerned with researching child labor laws and compiling a thorough release form that is understandable to anyone, not just those who speak film/legalese. There is no way I will be going in to this with a proper script. I think our best bet is going to be casting a kid with natural curiosity who will ask questions and who gets along with Steve. I used this as a template for my release form. Since this project is most similar to a documentary I felt a documentary release form to be the most appropriate, and this one contained a provision for an underage participant.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012


Ha, well it's been a while and my writing fingers might be a little rusty. Life goes on, much as it always has, here in the Shire...

Baby J is growing, Monkey is all potty-trained (except for her first major accident in MONTHS today) and I'm still making porn in the basement of a former warehouse (at least, that's what my co-workers think I do).

I recently started wrestling with the desire to do more. I'm still not sure what "more" may be, but dammit, I want to do it. I am still crafting, working on an awesome blanket for our best friend's future offspring and toys for my girls and nephews. I'm also participating in a Joss Whedon craft swap.

Work is fun if a little unsatisfying at times. I would like to do a lot more creatively, but I am aware that the limitations of "relating to appliance parts" hinder most creative endeavors.

I have been reading up a lot on the independent film biz and YouTubing in general. I look at part of my job as being the "Keeper of the YouTube" and part of that is keeping up to date on trends, who's who in YouTube and any new things the Google folks are running out that may affect our videos.