Today I felt the urge to create videos again. Even though it’s been a while since the last one, it is something that I enjoy. But given how much time is required to create and edit a video, I want to take a slightly different approach.

I’d like to experiment with capturing essence. I want the authenticity and spontaneity of Snapchat but with deliberateness and a focus on conveying something that’s not food or my face with a cartoon filter layered over. I’d like to be aware and conscious of the subjects I choose to shoot and the way I try to capture it, so that it can help push me toward improving my craft and eye for aesthetics.

So my idea for this is creating video vignettes. Short, mostly unedited, pretty incomplete pieces of work. Here are a few restraints that I’m going to set for myself. I tried making a vignette this afternoon so I was able to test out the feasibility of some of these requirements.

Video vignette restraints:

  1. No longer than 1 minute in length. I originally thought 30 seconds but after making my first video, I realized that could be a little too short depending on how much footage was captured.
  2. Limited music. Think about the sound being produced naturally by the scene and utilize that to convey experience and meaning.
  3. Limit narration. Show, don’t tell with the footage. Assume the viewer is capable of picking up on context and subtext.
  4. Editing should take no more than 30 minutes.
  5. Restraints are not final; the rules should be reevaluated when they become unhelpful.1

As someone who tends toward passivity, I want something that will help facilitate action and creation. An acquaintance of the Consortium (let’s just call him Nick Kee), who’s got a surprising knack for reading people, once told me that I need to try rejection therapy, or the practice of putting one’s self into a situation where someone says no to you, at least once a day. I think that would ultimately be helpful (and very uncomfortable) and if someone yells at me for stopping in the middle of a sidewalk to shoot some video, I think that would count.

Perfection is an enemy to creation. I think it’s often a far more formidable foe than laziness because we can always postpone releasing our creation out into the world, in the name of perfection, preventing us from 1) sharing that product and 2) moving on and working on the next thing. I’m starting to see creating things as a necessary human function. Creating things we’re proud of, things that we were made to create, is life-giving.

I think there was a motivational talk (or maybe it was a commencement speech) that was floating around on the Internet a while ago where a military officer was promoting the idea that folding one’s bed in the morning is a really important and functional habit. The reasoning was that it’s a quick win and sets one up for the rest of the day to accomplish things. Basically a fast, positive reinforcement. I hope that making vignettes will be a quick win that leads to more creation.

Look, I hate to promote a thing as a thing before it’s actually a thing. But just wanted to say that video vignettes are going to be a thing and we’ll see how far I can take it / how far it’ll take me in the next few weeks. I’m back!

  1. Spoken like a true consultant.