Last year my cousin’s dog, Penny, escaped their backyard and ran away. Three months later, she showed up unscathed at their front doorstep. This is no doubt an incredible feat of survival on little Penny’s part. However, so many questions arise from this story. How does a sub-ten-pound pomeranian survive the streets of downtown Detroit for three months? You see the outcome may be grand, but it lends itself to more questions than answers. Surely there is an epic novel waiting to be written.
During these current unprecedented times facing the COVID-19 crisis, more epic stories are waiting to be told. The truth is, keeping a business afloat through this epidemic is an amazing accomplishment in and of itself, but what people really want to know is how you were able to survive. Don’t leave your audience with more questions than answers, instead tell them the story you want to share.
Share the Struggle
“Human beings share the same common problems. A film can only be understood if it depicts these properly.”
– Akira Kurosawa
The businesses that are going to thrive through this, are the ones who maintain a high level of transparency. You have seen the phrase “We are all in the together” preached by the masses these past few weeks, and there is a reason this message resonates so strongly with people. It’s so much easier to empathize and connect with a business when you can relate to their struggles. There is something undeniably attractive about watching your favorite artist or athlete share photos and videos of them isolated in their home and stocking up on TP. It reminds us that the people we idolize and look up to are simply humans dealing with the same issues. It’s then when you realize that yes, we are all in this together.
Keep it Positive
Focus on what you are doing to make the most of the situation and try not to focus too much on the problem itself. Right now people are looking for ways to absorb positivity. Maybe you have taken up a new hobby or started reading again because you have some flexibility in your schedule. Maybe this is the first time in a long time where you can sit down and have dinner with your family on the regular. These are the stories that entice us and give us a sense of hope. Don’t undervalue the silver lining. How is the journey allowing you to grow not only as a professional but also as an individual? How can you encourage your audience to do the same?
Before you hit that record button, you need to consider how you are going to share your story, where you are going to share it, and how it is going to add value to your audience’s life? Think about ways you can inspire people who may need to be inspired. This may seem intimidating at first, but it could be as simple as sharing something that made you laugh, or listing ways that have helped you pass the time. Don’t overthink it, share it. Remember, engagement is the key. Let your audience know that you are in this with them.
Practical Video Tips
“The enemy of art is the absence of limitation.”
– Orson Wells
As the video producer for Studio 8E8, I would be doing you all a great disservice if I didn't share with you some of the practical steps you can take to improve on your video skills. Even though you might be limited in your resources at home, these few steps will come in handy to help your videos stand out on social media platforms and your website.
1. Use your phone.
You might be shocked to hear a videographer say this, but I truly believe that the best camera is often the one that’s already in your hand.
2. Use the main camera on the back of your phone.
People sometimes don’t realize that the “selfie camera” on the front of the phone is typically lower in quality than the main camera on the back. If you are recording yourself, take the time to set up your shot and make sure you will be in the frame before hitting that red button.
3. Use natural lighting in your house.
If there is a nice big window in your front room, take advantage of that. Natural light is often softer and more flattering than a light coming from a ceiling fan or lamp.
4. Make sure the main light source is in front of you.
I see this all the time when people are recording themselves. They will set up their shot right in front of a giant window, thinking that since it’s a nice day out, surely it will make for a great backdrop. The problem with this is that when an image is too bright behind the subject, the camera will overcompensate and make the foreground dark to expose for outdoors, resulting in the audience not being able to see the subject’s face.
5. Keep the shot clean.
This one might sound obvious, but any quick cleaning you can do to clear off space where you are shooting the video goes such a long way. I tend to think that less is more when it comes to objects in a shot.
These five simple tips will fine-tune the production quality of your videos and help you stand out. You want to give your audience a reason to stay updated on what you are doing during this trying time. Don’t leave them in the dark. Now more than ever it is important to share your story, and let people know you are in this with them.
I have added an example of a video where the entire Studio 8E8 team shares a little of their story and how they are coping with COVID-19. Notice the positive overall message while also acknowledging the struggles that we are all facing. It doesn’t have to be complex, as long as the message is clear, and the delivery is concise.