It Took Me A Year To Make My First Video Essay

It had been a dream of mine for years. I’d watch YouTube videos, thinking of my abilities as a writer as well as my theater experience and time in film school, and I’d think: yeah, I could do that.

Turns out, it was hard. Really hard.

I should clarify that I didn’t work nonstop on my video for an entire year. As someone who suffers from sometimes crippling perfectionism, my process frequently consisted of frenzied activity for a week or two followed by more than a month of anxiety-fueled paralysis, only to eventually begin work again, frequently going back to start again from square one.

But with the clarity of hindsight, I can now admit to myself that I accomplished more than producing a single, eleven minute video. In the course of producing this video, I managed to:

  • Teach myself how to use two different video editing platforms
  • Teach myself how to use three different video capturing platforms
  • Shoot and edit a complete, full-length practice video
  • Research and start more than half-a-dozen incomplete scripts for additional, future videos
  • Conduct two separate surveys to find out what kind of content my fan base is interested in
  • Interview several successful YouTubers for their best practices and advice

And then there was the actual process of creating the video itself, which involved writing the script, recording the narration, pulling footage, selecting the music, and finally attempting to edit it myself before eventually working with an editor. Incidentally, that brings up something else I have to say about this whole process:

I don’t know if I would have ever finished this project by myself.

While I did have some experience with video production and editing, the technical aspect of the craft was never a strength of mine, and I was really struggling to make headway. Luckily, I learned that a good friend of mine was studying video editing as a second career, and she graciously agreed to take my project on as an application of what she was learning. Her assistance proved to be absolutely invaluable, and despite the many exchanges of works-in-progress and timestamp notes, she maintained a calm, optimistic attitude that I found wonderfully contagious.

And now, the video is live. I can finally watch it whenever I want to, and so can my fans.

So, what did I learn?

For one thing, I learned that I’m capable of more than what I had pigeon-holed myself into. As much as I love writing novels and short stories, I proved to myself that I am capable of creating quality content in a completely new medium. I also learned that I can successfully collaborate with another creative person, something that I’ve struggled with in the past and was worried that I would never get a chance to try again. Finally, I learned that my ability to do hard things isn’t limited to the kind of unpleasant, necessary things that come with being a responsible adult. I can also do hard things that I’m passionate about.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, I am working on the next video essay, and no, I don’t plan on taking another year to post it.

Click below to watch my video essay:

As always, a big shout-out to the fantastic members of my Fan Community:

Randall Hodgson, Matthew Paxman, Yoshiyuki Nishikawa, Wil Sisney, Jarred Walton, and Joel Stanger.

If you’d like to learn more about my Fan Community, check out the following link:

2 Replies to “It Took Me A Year To Make My First Video Essay”

    1. Thank you! It was a lot of fun to make, and I’m already enjoying working on the next one. 🙂

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