At the start of the pandemic, I decided to buy some long books (600+ pages) to read. The thinking was that by the time I finish, the pandemic will be over. Well, I completed Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (Amazon) this summer and the pandemic is still going strong. In fact, during the summer the virus got a second wind with all those variants spreading, so bring out Tolstoy, there is more time left.
Still, that didn’t diminish what I’ve accomplished. I read a big book. Infinite Jest was a tough read, not something I’d recommend for bedtime or at the beach. There were some very good parts, sure, but overall, it’s not one I’ll reread soon, at least not again during this pandemic.
Also during this pandemic, I’ve found time to revisit my childhood passion for animation. When I was a kid, before I wanted to be a comedian, I wanted to become an animator. As an adult — thanks to technology and free time in the evenings — I could.
Wanting to commemorate the achievement of finishing a book while seeking an idea for an animation project, I decided to pair the two together and present a scene from what I’d imagine a moment at an I Finished Reading Infinite Jest Party would be like.
Please enjoy my animated short: I Finished Reading Infinite Jest Party
This is a timelapse of me making a video from beginning to end. I love behind-the-scenes content — even if it’s just someone sitting at a desk. Seeing how something is made is such an essential part of learning how to do it yourself, so I thought I’d share my process.
Also, I’ve been pretty busy recently, so I thought making a video of me making a video would be a good way to kill two birds.
Writing a script is all about taking an idea and running with it. Don’t overthink, just write. Sometimes I’ll take a break to do some research, but the goal is to get a page and a half of written material. The more — the better. I can always cut what I won’t use. It’s easier to cut during the editing phase than create during the editing phase. So the more you have, the easier the next step will be.
I realize that each step is all about making the following step easier. Editing can determine whether recording the audio will be a regular painful process or a terribly excruciating process. The editing phase is where you can set yourself up for success and sound smarter than you actually are. Knowing that I’m recording the voice-over after, I make it a habit of reading out loud when editing, which I’m guilty of not always doing.
Recording audio is the most draining part. Mainly because there’s nobody around to direct me. Sometimes I don’t know if I’ve said a word wrong or if my tone is off. However, I try to perform the section three times solidly and move on. You must move on at some point, if you’re not careful you can end up working on one paragraph for way too long with no guarantee you’re making it better. Get three good runs and go onto the next part.
To be as efficient as possible when audio editing, I’d skip ahead and listen to the last take first and then I compare it with the second last. If one is better than the other, I choose that one. If they’re both the same, I choose the last one. If both are bad, I’d go and listen to the third last and so on towards the first take. The first take is often the shittiest. After I’m done with the voice-over, I then get the music. I’m currently using Upbeat for my music. They offer 10 free downloads every month and that’s more than I need. Give it a shot!
Recording only an audio voice-over instead of a video of my face in full talking-head shot is about 20 times easier. Maybe 40 times because I won’t have to watch myself. Instead I get to scroll through stock footage to fill in the visual content. I use Storyblocks. It’s fine. They can use more footage with people writing, in my opinion.
Polish and Upload
Lastly, I polish up the edit. This part is all about making minor adjustments and cleaning up the cut. If text is needed, I’ll add that here. If colour correction is needed I do that here. I’d watch it a few times to make sure there are no embarrassing mistakes. I don’t always catch them. Especially if I pronounced something wrong. After I give the imperfectionist’s seal of approval, I export, create the thumbnail, and upload to my YouTube channel.
That’s it! That’s my current process for creating a video as quickly as I can. What was the video I made about? It was about editing. You can watch it here!
For more writing and editing inspiration and stories, please sign up for my mailing list. You won’t receive emails from me often, but when you do, it’ll only include my proudest works.
Toronto-based Vidoyen is innovating the way we exchange knowledge through social media.
Amidst all the rambling rants, self-brags, and gossips comes trustworthy and stimulating video content from experts in the world of politics, business, academics and other respected professions.
“We [Vidoyen] are like TedTalk meets Twitter,” founder and CEO of Vidoyen, Arshia Tabrizi explains to Techvibes. “We are a site that provides two-minute videos that’ll inform and inspire. And for the experts we have built a custom social media platform for them to engage with their audience in a much more authentic way.”
We are all bombarded with information and content daily. There is an overwhelming amount noise out there; on social media platforms where there are no moderators or curators, it’s often the loudest voices that get heard—and they aren’t necessary the most valuable.
Vidoyen has filtered out the nonsense and assembled a group of contributors with expertise. These contributors are selected through an application process where certain aspects are assessed including established reputation and knowledge in a particular field. Unlike YouTube and other user-generated content sites, Vidoyen only publishes videos with helpful and reliable answers to compelling and sometimes complicated questions.
“Anybody who is busy would not want to spend a lot of time scouring the Internet,” said Tabrizi. “They want smart, short-form video content that they can trust.”
Vidoyen has developed a one spot create, review and share platform, which allows both the creators and audience to push the content out to all social media channels. While the questions for the experts can be complex, the usability and the content must be short and simple.
“People are tired of reading text,” said Tabrizi. “We are constantly reading stuff on our mobile phone—a lot of reading devices have small screens—so no matter what we do it’s still hard on the eye. People are looking for different kinds of media to consume. We believe that video is great for communicating and retaining information in the way that distinguishes itself from text.”
On a text-heavy planet, it’s easy to disconnect ourselves from the people around us. Often times we forget that there is another person on the other side of a text message or an email thread. Vidoyen stresses the value of personalities and the significance it adds to the information and opinions being offered. The tiny human element that is often lost in words can be captured in video, especially when you witness the passion behind the person speaking about a subject that really matters to them.
The Internet has become a megaphone for people with something to say, but the freedom of speech has lowered the standard of legitimacy. While some are shouting into the void of YouTube, others can be found on Vidoyen chiming in and offer their insights to questions worth answering and commentary worth hearing.
“We insure quality,” said Tabrizi, “we are about quality over quantity.”
For those who wish to contribute to Vidoyen the next round applications will be opened until December 15.