So … I wanna be a travel-type YouTuber. Step one was getting out of the studio and actually traveling, which was accomplished in a whirlwind 1.5 flight to New Orleans. Check! But then the fun began. How to make a video without a script, without the benefits of preset lights and tripods, and without a real plan?

It actually came out fairly well. I did have a plan of action, and technically I fulfilled on it. But there were lots of learning moments:

  • After 36 hours of analytics, I see that views are way up, which is good. But retention is horrible. Sure folks clicked, but they didn’t stay. And while I wish I had knocked it out of the park, perhaps having data on what needs improvement is actually better.
  • My hook was horrible. In no way shape or form did I set that hook. Perhaps it was because I didn’t define the story very well. It’s hard to sell something if you don’t specific the product. Whatever happens in the first 10 seconds needs to grab the viewer. And me standing in front of a building talking isn’t it.
  • I need to lose the open. It serves no purpose. The hook/intro needs to be a flowing and enticing thing. It needs to sell. I must work on the first 30 seconds as much as I should on thumbnails and titles. This one didn’t. I knew it when I watched it that if I could get folks past the first minute, they would stay. But no one stayed that minute.
  • PRE-ESTABLISH the title, thumbnail, hook, and open by ESTABLISHING THE STORY!
  • The flow of the video needs to be better “outlined”. Meaning, when I film the segments I have to know how I ended/started the ones that touched it. This video felt a little light on the continuity. So an end-to-end vision of what needs to happen, needs to happen before I start shooting.
  • “Show Don’t Tell” is a great idea, and I did semi-well. But there does still need to be some tell. Not talking head kind of tell, but more than just eating on camera. I need to find the balance of how much to speak during each segment.
  • Speaking of which, I do really well speaking in front of a studio camera. I struggled with remote. Partially because of the technical aspects (light, location, sounds, etc), but also because I didn’t understand how the scene should be created. I just turned on the camera and started. I really need to storyboard scenes beforehand with ideas of what I should be looking for and doing.
  • I also need to fine-tune the gear. It was clunky to use. The new tripod may help, but I need to get used to a remote setup better.
  • I scrambled for a thumbnail. I need to pre-plan that far better! As in, before I even start filming. Create one with a placeholder image and replace that later. But title, thumb, intro must always be established first!
  • I shot enough b-roll, but it was a little clunky. Need to work on lighting and technique more. Don’t forget to hold on a shot as well as panning. And shoot in larger frames of view (I can always punch in using 4K).

Overall it was a decent first shot at non-studio work. I’m not displeased. I learned quite a lot. (Especially about gear, what works and what doesn’t). The edit in a volunteer tent was a struggle, especially with the crappy headset I brought with me. Lots of lessons learned.

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