My Experience of Vlogging

2020 has been a crazy year for everyone, and spoiler alert, it’s probably going to get a lot crazier.

*stares in horror at the warping of the Three Gorges Dam*

During my time in lockdown I started work in earnest on making a video channel on YouTube. If you would like to look at my channel, you can find it here.

I have to confess, it’s been a lot harder than I thought it would be, however, having published nine videos at the time of writing this, I’m starting to feel confident that I can produce regular video content. The hardest part for me was to sit in front of the camera and talk to an empty room. I felt quite silly at first, and worried every time I heard footsteps outside that my audio recording would be ruined. Which, in the first few attempts, it certainly was, and so I had to change my microphone to one that wouldn’t pick up the sounds from outside my apartment. This article is mostly a summary of the trials I’ve had to work my way through in the process of building my vlog channels. Now I’ve got the technique under control I’m going to start posting short articles about the videos I’ve produced with some extra material and notes about them as every time I publish a video I remember a dozen things I wish I had mentioned because I think they’re so important to know: so have a look for those articles on this site over the next few weeks.

Scripts. I am a writer, I love to write, I write quickly, and I write a lot. So before I started recording I put a lot of effort into writing script for my videos. I had written about 50 scripts, all of them essay length, before I tried to record my first video. For the first few videos I did I tried to just read out whole essays of what I wanted to say. I thought this would make my task easy, but this is not the case. Instead, it was a huge mistake on my part because I was so focused on trying to copy everything the script said that I was becoming perfectionist. My confidence suffered a lot during these early takes and I started to doubt that I even knew what I was talking about because I was struggling so much to speak. However, one day I thought I would just sit down without any script at all and speak to the camera. This proved remarkable: the number of stops and interruptions dropped to almost zero and my enjoyment for the process went from chore to exciting challenge. Later I found that longer videos without a script tended to meander too much, so I started just putting up some dot points in front of me to keep me on track and that’s how I found the Goldilocks zone. Some of my friends have remarked at how confident I sound without a script, and I do feel a lot more confident without a script, and so I’m wondering now how many people hold themselves back in life by relying too much on scripts like I have?

This was the first video I did without a script. Can you see the difference?

Style. When I recorded the first few videos, I tried several different styles. I actually haven’t uploaded most of these videos because a lot of the time I didn’t feel comfortable with the styles I was using. It was a very difficult experience sitting for hours watching myself over and over again. I didn’t like the sound of my voice, or the way my tie was sitting, and it I was coming up against of lot of self-acceptance issues. I am missing a few teeth, through no fault of my own, I was born without them as it were. However, part of me didn’t like to see that I was missing those teeth, I wasn’t as self-accepting with my appearance as I would have liked to be. But here something powerful happened, by pushing myself to observe and look at myself I learned to be at peace with myself and my appearance. Something I help a lot of other people with as a therapist, so it was great to spend some time working on myself, and I realise now that watching recordings of oneself can be quite therapeutic. I would like to talk about some of my personal experiences on camera, I don’t know if I would share them, but I’m curious about watching my own facial expressions when I talk about difficult experiences I’ve had to see what knew insights I could get from this, as I get a lot of insights from watching my clients carefully in my therapy sessions.

Editing. I have at least three videos I recorded but haven’t uploaded yet, in fact, I probably never will. These were videos I recorded early on when I was using a script and thinking it wouldn’t be too difficult to splice all the different takes together and add cool special effects. Well, the first few videos took up to 15 hours of time editing them. This is because I had hundreds of clips, many repeats, and a poor system of organising them. The long painful stints editing these early videos almost made me give up altogether in disgust and not keep working on it. The last three videos I made though each took only an hour to edit and prepared for upload. This is because I stopped trying to be perfect, and instead settled for being good enough. There are lots of things I would like to improve in my latest videos, and I want to improve the quality of my production in the future to eliminate these problems, but working too hard ruins the fun of making videos and since I stopped trying to make perfect videos I’ve started to really enjoy just making videos. So much that I might try making three a week now.

Computing. I had to upgrade my computer in order to do the video editing, that wasn’t too bad. However, I’ve now discovered just how slow uploading video can be. I want to mirror all my videos on BitChute as well as YouTube, but that’s proving to be a little more difficult than anticipated. It takes half a day for me to upload each video, and while I’m doing this I can’t use my Internet connection for Skype calls or anything else really. So it will take me some time to get all my videos up to BitChute, but I promise I will eventually get them all up there… despite the tendency of uploads to fail altogether on BitChute. Also, I’ve had to learn how to make thumbnails, thanks to a friend who jumped in to help me by making a couple for me and showing me where to get started making my own. Altogether, I’ve spend well over $1,000 on the equipment to set up my channel, which might seem like a lot because I don’t plan to ever monetise my channel, but it’s great to spend money on myself, on my own interests, my own business, and, surprisingly, I’ve found this whole experience an investment in my own self-improvement.

Confidence. Once when I was a Ph.D candidate I made a speech at a small conference. I don’t think I did too badly, I was just very nervous, however, my supervisor at the time expected perfection and got up and walked out half-way through my presentation. The following day she gave me a nasty ear bashing in her office. Now, my supervisor was a very nasty abusive woman looking back, and a part of why I gave up on pursuing my Ph.D, and for years afterwards felt terrified of public speaking fearing my audience would just stand up and walk out on me. The glorious thing about making this channel is that I’m rediscovering my confidence in public speaking. I hadn’t expected to find this project so rewarding. I think back to high school and how they kept pushing us to do public speaking and I think they did everything wrong: scripts, cue cards, pay attention to the audience… blah… no no no. Less is more, less preparation, less structure, less things to think about. Just get up and talk, and in my case talk to an empty room, but just talk and about whatever you want to talk about. All those other things come naturally from the doing. You can’t push those skills, you’ve got to just do it, and it’s more important to enjoy yourself than to tick a checklist of things you think you ought to be doing.

Anyway, I hope you stop by to check out my videos, and as they say: please like, share, and subscribe!

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