It’s been about 10 years since I started my professional video career and I often look back at the early days, as well as, my college days. Boy, I really thought I knew something back then but I had no idea. You know what they say, “Gameplay may change with experience”. Not to mention that when I started college, video was not what it is today. Social media was in its infancy and for the most part video was not integrated in the platform. Tiktok and Reels didn’t exist, hell IGTV didn’t even exist.
Social media changed the video game so much that even after going to 7 years of school specifically for video production, I had to take another 2 years of training designed for content creation once I was offered my first corporate gig.
So, in this article, I thought it would be helpful to offer a few things that I wish I knew as a young video creator that would have made the journey to success a little easier!
Always learn something new
I touched on this in the intro but you always need to stay on top of the trends. The video landscape changes so rapidly these days. It was always evolving before but not at these speeds. To put this in perspective, TikTok became available worldwide in 2018. By 2020, it became so popular that it forced both Instagram and YouTube to launch new additions to their platform. Not only that but now, the 9:16 video aspect is the preferred method of video consumption in social media. Making those 7 years of video production school to be basically worthless for me.
So my tip to you is to always be learning. Don’t be afraid to enroll in online courses with sites like coursera, udemy or masterclass. You can also do this by learning from industry leaders on social media sites like Instagram and YouTube. Stay up to date with what they're doing. They have followers for a reason. Whether its quality of content, consistency of creation or just novelty. Don’t be afraid to imitate, don’t just copy and paste but imitate.
Subscribe to a Digital Asset Service
For so long, I thought that using a website to source digital assets was CHEATING. In reality, when used the right way, its just another tool in your arsenal. When you work for a company that wants you to produce 80-100 pieces of video content per year or even more, digital assets can really bring your content to the next level while saving you a lot of time.
Subscribe to a company like envato, shutterstock, storyblocks or even adobe. There are plenty of sites out there that offer some free stuff but getting to pick and choose as you please is much better. Personally, I do prefer Evato Elements. It has a very wide range of assets from stock video/images, templates, and even site pages. On top of that I find it to be pretty affordable.
Know your editing software like the back of your hand
Again, when I was in college, I really thought I knew my stuff...I’m sad to admit that I didn’t know [exploit of deleted]. Knowing the software you are going to use for your video creation is so important. Not only is it important to the look of your final product but its also important to the speed in which you finish that product. Generally, a company may expect that you create at least 3 pieces of long-form content per week. This doesn’t include the short form content which is now gaining a lot of traction or training material or whatever else they need.
When I started my 2 years of content training, in an early meeting my trainer said, “You need to eat, sleep and breath in Adobe.” In my arrogance I shook him off like, “whatever dude,” and then would clock out at 5:00 and play video games until it was time to go to bed.
While its good to take a break and have hobbies, my trainer was right. If you want to be successful, you need to EAT, SLEEP AND BREATH your software. When you’re done with your work, start a project that utilizes similar techniques but add something new to expand your horizons. Watch and follow tutorials on the software. Practice, Practice, Practice. Create the same effect over and over again until you can create it with ease and then find something new to add to it.
When I started my first corporate gig, I created a template that worked for the brand and stopped evolving. This will only get you so far. Espically if you're trying to job hop to increase your yearly income. Later, when I started creating projects on the side, I found myself needing to look outside the box. It really expanded my abilities and I found that I was able to add the new techniques to my corporate job. which in turn led to a raise, bonus and more. So definitiely know what tools you have in your box.
Don’t be afraid to offer free work
This seems to not be a thing anymore but it should be...to an extent. This is a tough line to straddle but if done correctly it will lead to a successful portfolio.
I’ll share a story with you. When I was just beginning my career, I earned an opportunity with an AHL hockey team. It was an unpaid internship. Which I began with 4 others. Two of them dropped out within the first couple months. By the end of the season, the other had dropped out.
They all said the same thing, “man this organization doesn’t care about us. If they did, they would pay us”
The following season the last one left, me, was offered a contract for 36 games. A gig that I still work to this day. Which has since led to a career in broadcast sports. Over that time I've gotten the opprotunity to do some really, really awesome events like the Big South Tournament, NBA All-Star game and the Calder Cup. So if you can afford it, don’t be afraid to offer some free work. Reach out of organizations or social media pages and ask them if they need help or offer 1 free video to show what you can do. This can give you a foot in the door or even just something add to your portfolio.
Drowned out the noise
For years I wouldn’t finish a project because I was always in my own head second guessing my own abilities.
“This looks so bad. People are going to think this is awful. People are going to make fun of me.They'll call me a hack.”
Ignore all of this because its likely wrong! There are a lot of haters out there, especially in the world of social media but you need to ignore all of this. The people that are going to put done your work are likely the ones that hate their own work. You’ll find that people want to leave bad comments because it makes them feel better about the garbage they produce. Those people aren’t your demographic anyways. Take those comments with a grain of salt and use it to motivate yourself. If you just keep pushing, you’ll find the right people that love your work and want you to succeed.
Get out and stay out of your own head!
And those are just a few tips I would give to a young version of myself. Keep working and you’ll get where you want to go! I really hope this was helpful and takes your young career to the next level!
If you want to learn more, don’t forget to subscribe to my social channels and this website! If you’re looking to train with me don’t hesitate to reach out and I’ll be more than willing to help!
Need a video editor? I’m available!