What You Can Learn About Yourself Through Video Creation

Your Social Media “5 Seconds of Fame” aside, experimenting with video can support various of your personal growth goals.

White iPhone lying on table with YouTube icon in red and white.

What started as a plain item on the bucket list that had to be ticked off evolved into something a little more extensive. A couple of years back Hello Fears-founder Michelle Poler did a 100-day graduation project on a topic of choice. She chose fear and thus tackled one fear per day, documenting it all on video.

Seeing her enrich her life with all these new experiences, the Light Bulb of Inspiration above my head flicked on and started flickering brightly. What followed, was making a bucket list of my own. Only one of those list items were related to shooting video materials. Getting deeper into video making and even ending up with a tiny YouTube channel was purely accidental. How does one get there though? By taking that very first step. I wrote about it here.

One bucket list item was to shoot one short video and publish it on a YouTube channel. That’s it. When done, I realized I enjoyed the process of making a video from scratch. Shooting 100% original footage, choosing which clips to cut and which to leave in. It’s like creating a little masterpiece of your own that you have full creative control over. After all, your channel is your playground. And all swings and slides are reserved just for you, free to explore.

So I made another video and published it. And another. Before you know it, you have a library of videos to look back on. I have not been consistent enough to really test is the current topic of the channel is worth putting more time and effort in.

When it comes to these videos, I’m my own biggest fan. I frequently pick a past experience and travel back in time. Nearing the end of these short films, I usually feel proud of my past self. Definitely not because the videos are of cinematic Steven Spielberg quality. Proud because I took action with an idea that lived in my mind, and turned it into something tangible, not only for me but also for others.

Now having built up an archive of videos, I can see clearer in which areas I’ve experienced growth. Of course it depends on the type of content you like to make. Some people, me included, do vlog-style videos, others use stop-motion, some never even show their face.

Looking at these videos, there have been evolutions in so many different areas:

Production quality

This slowly increases. As a beginner, you will suck. It’s unavoidable. Unless you have a background in filmmaking, but for those of us who don’t, it’s likely the first batch of videos will be meh at best. Looking at earlier videos, I don’t fully absolutely despise my creations. It is easy to point out what became better. For example:

  • I either hold the camera more steadily, or place it on a solid surface or an (improvised) tripod. This ensures the viewer won’t get motion-sickness, vomit all over their screen and associate my videos with bile.
  • A-roll (viewer watching the speaker directly) is more supported by B-roll (supplementary materials) to bring more variety in the videos.
  • Integrating sound effects into the videos for more “spice”.

Public speaking

Verbally expressing myself has never been a core strength. See for yourself in blooper sections I deliberately include in my videos as part of the process (here, here, or here). Unfortunately it’s not a skill I can afford to completely neglect. Life, even as an introvert, is not lived being locked up in a basement eternally and never interacting with another living creature.

By “hosting” the video show and speaking into the camera, I practice talking to an audience. Now we’re all living on Zoom calls, Google Hangouts and Jitsi meetings, those speaking skills I’ve secretly been honing while working on video editing projects now come in handy. Examples of things I was able to adjust after becoming aware of them are:

  • Reducing the amount of filler words I used, such as “uhms” or “ands”
  • Loosening up and trying to look less like a brick with a moving mouth on camera and more like a human
  • Reducing the long pauses in between sentences or words where I’m still processing how to best express them verbally. Implementing long pauses or re-doing a text in the same edit is a drag because, in my case, I’ll spend hours on cutting out and stitching together these half-finished sentences, and that’s always something to avoid

Creativity

You can make your videos as quirky, formal, colorful or educative as you like. You can talk about anything you like. You can go wild on editing, using special effects and transitions. Playing with video allows you to explore rabbit holes of creativity. Again, it depends on what kind of videos you’re making, how formal they should be and who the audience is. Still, there is no restriction in how you deliver your message and footage.

Captivating your audience

If you’re heavily focused on growing a video account or channel for business, you’ll learn what captivates your audience and where they get bored and drop off. Use this information to make incremental improvements in your next video. And formal or not, you’ll want to know what the people like and what not.

Self-confidence

Maybe the most important one of them all. I’ve learned to care less about other people’s opinions. I feel less reserved in sharing what I want to share, and do so in a way that I can stand by. If others don’t like it, they are free to stop watching at any time.

Writing my way to progress. Topics: personal growth, life lessons, tooling & (failed) ventures.

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