14/ 03/ 2016
So I’ve done a lot of thinking about how far I’ve come (and how far I have to go) in terms of being comfortable on camera. And I have Dre from EMIP TV and Tim Schmoyer to thank for it!
Dre, who is full of personality in his videos, was kind enough to do a collaboration with me. He gave an interview on my channel talking about his careers in aviation, music, trucking and photography, and shared some tips for me on how to have more charisma on camera in a video on his channel.
Then Tim, a family vlogger and Youtube-certified trainer, sent out a very timely e-mail to his mailing list about a similar topic asking for feedback. After some reflection, the following is what I wrote back. It was probably too much, but I’ll share it here because who knows–it may help someone else out there with the same struggle:
I’m a writer by training so getting on camera was tough and also the biggest hurdle for me each time I wanted to do a video. The best thing I did was set myself up with an ambitious schedule and hold myself to it, because doing so forced me to put videos out regardless of my anxieties. It was painful! But I knew it couldn’t last because, essentially, having the same conflict over and over, day in and day out, got boring. There’s only so many times you can go through the motions of taking hours just to work yourself up for filming, then stutter through recording only to have the battery go out before you finish, and THEN have to edit around all that awkward stuttering, before you feel compelled to suck it up and get over it.
The turning point for me was probably when I did a daily video challenge for one month. Making videos got so exhausting that the easiest way for me to streamline the process was to just learn to ignore the fear and self consciousness. At first, it took some mental cheerleading each time I felt I was procrastinating, or that I was taking too long to record, like, ‘GET YOURSELF TOGETHER, or else it’s going to take until 5am!’ And then slowly it evolved into a kind of survival-mode switch I could flip on–my “let’s get this video done” personality in which all anxieties just got pushed to be back burner because any other attitude in that moment, in front of the camera, was just not sustainable.
The other thing, which I only recently discovered, was that a clearly defined, and honest, purpose is key. It’s hard to focus and to turn that switch on when you’re not really sure WHY you’re doing it. For some, it might be fame. For others, money. For me, I have a full time career and don’t crave fame, so it’s about promoting open discussion and sharing practical knowledge because it was the help and generosity of other people got me to where I am, and I want others to have access to that. But regardless of what anyone’s motivation is, as long as we are honest with ourselves about what we want, we can turn that camera on and have the mental clarity and determination we need to put our anxieties and fears aside… And just do the damn thing!
I can’t say yet whether people like me, but each time I do a new video I feel a little more confident, both in the process and that I will be proud of my finished product. And if that’s all I leave this experience with, that’s fine with me!
So to sum up: Set an ambitious (but realistic) schedule, and hold yourself to it; streamline the process so can essentially eliminate any thinking or hesitation that could possibly serve as a crutch for you not to stick to your schedule; be honest with yourself about what you REALLY WANT. And yes, it may very well be something superficial, which is ok–just don’t lie to yourself. Because without knowing your purpose, it’s hard to stay motivated.