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MASTERCLASS #1 - The Struggle with Self Filming

Updated: Apr 28, 2020


Filming yourself on a mobile phone is a real challenge. The biggest stumbling block most newbies face (besides the gear and editing)... is memorizing a script and being natural, engaging and to the point. This leaves you feeling unsatisfied with the final product because it's boring.

I thought I'd try a new way to creating videos. Why not make a presentation (PowerPoint or Keynote) and use that as a visual que to keep you on track. If you record yourself with one camera and record your screen of the presentation you'll basically have your script, teleprompter and broll footage all at the same time.

I struggled with making video (me being in-front of the camera) for years because I kept comparing myself with people like Casey Neistate, Peter McKinnon and Jessee Driftwood. Nothing I ever did measured up to the quality. I found I was trying to copy them... like with the slow-motion cinematic scenes, transitions, perfect audio and the list goes on.

I found it super easy to make a story as a presentation first and basically tell my story. This approach could also work for sales videos, landing page videos, product reviews... basically anything.

I hope you like it and get inspired. I know I am. This is my 1st vlog and I plan on doing more. I hope you stay connected.

Comments are my biggest metric I care about. So please leave feedback or engage with me. That's what I want. Follows and subs comes after.

Thanks for being real. MSG me below.


Hey, what's up? It's Danny here. I want to try something totally new. I just heard fireworks go off in the background. It's the new year and I have a pretty cool setting. It's a prison, an old prison, and it goes with the theme of today's video, which is going to be about feeling trapped. My example of failing started with this vlog, but your example can be totally different, whether it's losing weight or trying something new or anything in general. We've all failed. So if you've ever been on that failed train, you'll totally appreciate where I'm coming from. When I failed with my vlog, there was three primary things that did that to me.

The first one was the gear and the process. So I overcomplicated all the gear that I needed and the process to actually edit the video and stitch it all together. It's just like really paralyzed me. Nothing ever felt natural and candid. It was very scripted, robotic and just shit is basically what I ended up thinking. Speaking of the script, I could never memorize a script. So I tried so many different things where I would put bullet points and tape it onto the tripod underneath the camera. But you could see me looking down and not looking into the camera. And then other things I tried was actually writing up a script and using a teleprompter. That one actually works really good. But the problem with it was my videos turned out to be just me talking into the camera and nobody wants to see that. So me doing a talking head video just wasn't going to cut it for today's modern world, we just don't have the attention span for that. So the teleprompter idea is awesome except for boring.

Now, whatever your project is that you're working on that you keep failing at, a lot of times we let stuff get in the way. So my example here is I'm looking at a GoPro. I actually loved the GoPro. I think everybody should have one. However, we all experience it where you buy something brand new thinking it's going to solve your problem and you take it out of the box, and you shoot your first little shot or you do whatever you do with it, and it's just like not what you expected. Everybody else made it look so much better than how you are doing it. And it's kind of embarrassing. When I see all the other footage that people are capturing with it, the clarity of the audio, the crispness of the scene, just like the whole cinematic sequence. And then I get it and it's just like, terrible.

So the process or the end result is never what you expected. I mean especially when you compare yourself to different people. So I just threw up three people in the screen here. There's Casey, Peter and Jessie, and these are three guys that I really, really, really look up to. The problem with me looking up to these guys is that I pale in comparison. I never cut it when I look at the quality of the work that they do. These are three YouTube. But it doesn't matter if it's three YouTubers that you are inspired by or if it's like a star that you look up to, an industry leader or a colleague down the hallway. What ends up happening is we get so distracted and blinded by the polish and the fake social world that we live in that we expect what we do to be the exact results as what they do. And if it's not even close, we're just kind of depressed and sad with ourselves. I definitely found myself in that boat because I just never found my groove.

So I got this video up here and it's showing behind the scenes. So a lot of the people that are ahead of you, there's usually a team behind them. And that team has a collective experience, whether it'd be like 20 years in that industry or 10 years or 15 or 30 and you're trying it for the first time, you have a collective experience of zero. We always forget this. And when I'm trying to do self filming like I am now, and then I want to go home and I want to edit this little video, I have to realize I don't have the army which is flying by right now. There's literally an air base and that's an army helicopter. So the army is flying away without me and I'm standing here by myself doing it.

So it's easy for them to look all high on their horse when they got a crew of people that can make them look good in any light. And then here we are over in the corner. If anybody can relate, you're like a horse, just a toy horse walking in circles and people are just walking by. They're not even like offering to help us. Right? So my problem initially started with the fact that on YouTube I'm over 500 videos right now, which is awesome. That's not the problem. I got about 300 that are public and 200 that are private. Now, there's an algorithm that YouTube really looks at and it's called audience retention. That's the play through rate. So if it was a 60-second video, what's the percentage of time people will stick through? Is it 10 seconds, 40, 60? Obviously, the higher the better.

Now, my problem with this audience retention is that I have really long format videos. They're like 40 minutes to 60 minutes, and ideally on YouTube, it should be more like 3 minutes to 12 minutes. So that's a huge problem for me. And because of that, YouTube is going to be penalizing my videos organically when people do searching. So I thought to fix this problem would be to just make shorter format videos, three-minute to eight-minute videos. So what I could do is take all of my old format videos, repurpose them into fresh content. So I thought I'd flipped the switch and create my own lane. I mean, I kept trying to compare myself to other vloggers and compare myself to other people that are doing things that just aren't my strengths and skillsets.

So I thought, why can't I just create my own lane? One thing I've discovered in my public speaking endeavors, when I'm on stage and I'm doing a presentation, the presentation that everybody is looking at actually isn't for them. The presentation is for me, it's a visual reference and a visual cue as to what I should be saying and keeping me on track for my story. So why can't I do the same thing where I just use my phone to tell a little story for you? So I'm using Keynote right now. Keynote is an awesome tool. It allows you to create presentations directly on your phone. Everything that you've seen in this video so far, I made on Keynote. All the animations of the text, all the actual videos that you're watching, it's just playing on keynote and I'm recording my screen as I talk to you.

What's really awesome about this little format, I feel, it gives me an organic script. I'm not reading something word for word and feeling like a robot and unnatural. It allows me to just tell my story and kind of bounce around, but stay in the lane. It also gives me the B-roll overlay footage for you so that it breaks up the monotony of being so boring and just staring at my face the whole time that I talk. And then also the cool thing about keynote is that you can do it in portrait mode. So I can create this presentation the size of my phone and then therefore I can upload it to things like Instagram stories and Facebook stories. And even Facebook and YouTube now allow you to upload in portrait mode, and when a person watches that, it takes up the whole screen. Basically, you're storytelling on the go.

This is going to be my new format and I want to know, if you stumble, will you make it part of the dance? Because I've literally been stumbling for years. I just stumbled on that word and I've been stumbling for years. Like literally, I bought my Sony DSLR camera like three or four years ago to make a vlog and then I was going to do another vlog of me doing adventures and having fun, and it just took the fun out of the fun by having to create all this content. Is just not why I wanted to do it. Now I have a real reason. My YouTube channel, the numbers are going to start to go down because of that audience retention rate and people just don't care for long format videos. So part of my stumbling enabled me to fail forward and find a solution. I think will work.

I don't know anybody else who's doing these types of videos where they're using a presentation on their phone to keep them on track, but I think you could do it as well. Let me share a couple ideas with you. Monthly videos. So if you were a real estate agent, you could create a presentation on your phone for the market stats of what's happened in your market, property types, that sort of thing. And then it could be a monthly video that you do and it only takes like a minute or two minutes to make. A product or service highlight video. So I could easily create, if I was in the car industry and a new car comes out, just like even in real estate as well. Kind of like going through a presentation, talking about all the highlights and you're like flipping the page of the magazine or flipping the page of the brochure or flipping through the listing photos of that property and you're just kind of talking about them.

About you, all real estate agents and all people in business should have an about you, about the team and/or about the company. So maybe you could start off with making that as your video. And then the client process. So a lot of the videos that I make, I intend on re-purposing for multiple reasons. I never make a video just for uploading a video's sake. I always have a reason for it. Many times it's either for a landing page or for like a followup sequence to educate a person as to why they should maybe enrol in that product or service. Hopefully, I just gave you a couple ideas. I don't know. I'm just kind of ... Time's up. They're shooting the cannons.

So we're standing in front of the prison here. Hopefully, you don't feel trapped. Hopefully, you fail forward. Onto the next vlog, I'm going to tell you a little secret. When you watch videos, there really is a trick that if you like that person's video or comment or share it, then the next time they upload a video, the algorithm will put that in your feed. So if you like this video and you like the idea, do you think this is a format I should keep rolling with? I want to try it out for a couple and see how it goes. So thanks a lot.

Danny Wood is a public speaker for major conferences and global brands. His focus is on marketing and technology. From generating leads, to lead follow up and after sale systems for repeat and referral business. He currently runs BrokerageNation a collection of 200 real estate offices and over 8,000+ agents who are enrolled in his online training programs. Along with that he has a 1-on-1 coaching service helping REALTORS® implement the systems and services he speaks on.

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