You know that whole stretch beyond your comfort zone thing that self-improvement and career books like to talk about?
Well, when it comes to creating micro films for your business, it's not necessarily the best idea. Sure feeling a bit awkward or scared or nervous is normal. But deeply uncomfortable and out of your depth? No!
A couple of weeks ago I was on a google rampage which took me to the website of a pair of social media "gurus". They had a heading which said "VIDEOS", so naturally I wanted to see what they are up to. (For me the word video is like catnip to a Siamese.)
Under videos they had a ton of content. Too many videos to count. All of them talking-head videos where the presenter speaks directly into the camera lens.
I clicked play on the first one.
It was terrible!
Okay, I'll qualify that. The gent behind the camera seemed like he was ready to jump out of his own skin. He was so awkward he almost didn't seem human.
Most people don't feel at home with a camera right up in their grill. It's a new and peculiar experience. And talking head videos where you have to speak directly into the lens can feel especially intimidating. But you should never be so uncomfortable that you come off as a citizen of Planet Zorp.
So why would anyone do a talking head video, let alone a series of them if they weren't comfortable with the format? And wouldn't they look at the videos and see how nuts they looked?
Maybe these two gents didn't have any close friends who were willing to lay it on them straight. Maybe they thought the videos were great! Or maybe they had heard the stories of how doing a ton of videos was going to help them build an audience and reach the big pay day they had been waiting for. I'm not sure.
What I learned from watching a few of their videos is that above all else, you need to make business moves that feel good to you. And when it comes to creating videos or micro films the motivation should never be just the potential to make more money. It should be the pure excitement and desire to serve your customers/clients/fans/audience through a brilliant communication medium.
Because the camera sees everything. It will see any ulterior motive in your eyes, your posture, your being, and so will everyone else.
If your motivation is help your audience, to provide value, to create an experience, to inspire and uplift, to share your story, the camera will see that too, and so will everyone else.
To be clear, I'm not say you need to have a bubbly and supremely confident personality to shine on camera - not at all!
You just need to be comfortable expressing yourself fully. And you need to be committed to authenticity. And by authentic I don't mean that wearing your pyjamas and telling everyone how nervous you are. I mean being real and approachable. Not trying to put on a show.
For most people, the talking-head video format is also not the best way to go. If you're a gifted or well-trained communicator or you just happen to be comfortable on-camera then creating a series of talking-head videos is a no-brainer. Get on it.
But if you aren't, then there is a myriad of other creative options for you.
If your company creates gorgeous hand-crafted furniture, you can have a video made that combines an interview with the founder and maybe a lead craftsperson with active footage showing some of the most compelling steps in the process. You can have a story built with video footage that captures who you are and what your business is all about, rather than forcing you into a performance role that you're not comfortable with.
There are times when learning new skills is important. But I'm not convinced that for most business owners, learning the skill of an on-camera direct address is a legitimate one. Instead, I say stick to the skills you do have, and hire a videomaker who can capture you and your business in the best light and tell a story while doing so.
Are you dreaming of making your own series of talking head videos? Or would you rather get caught with your pants down on national television? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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Since I went on and on about a terrible example of a talking head video, I'd like to also share a recent talking head video that I really liked. These are two great examples from Lush Cosmetics. Both combines straight-up talking head content with some fun cutaways that show personality. The first video actually resulted in me going out to the local Lush Cosmetics store and buying the product. Watch a minute or two of each video and notice how everyone seems pretty comfortable, and they all seem to be having fun. This is the aim with any video.