The Story Economy Blog

Introverts Can Make Great Videos + 3 Other Lessons (And Bloopers!)

I’ll never forget watching myself on camera in Sister Cecelia’s freshman speech class. I was 14, awkward as hell, and truly awful at communicating a message. As part of our “training,” she recorded each of us giving a speech. Standing in front of the class (which already terrified me) and seeing that red light in the back of the room was the highest form of torture for me. If that wasn’t enough, each person was forced to watch their speech on video while Sr. Cecelia critiqued us in front of the whole class. I don’t remember my topic. But I do remember mortification at seeing myself, and vowing never again.

More than 25 years later, that mortification is still deep in there. High school triggers never actually dissolve! But . . . after helping companies script several videos and facilitating interviews for videos and helping to storyboard videos, I finally decided to actually embrace the medium myself. Mostly, because I realized I had some great messages worth communicating. I made my first video five years ago, about my book Sew Retro. I shudder to look at it now and see how stiff I was (I was also pregnant, which wasn’t doing my face any favors). But it was a great first step, because I started to see myself as someone who had a reason to be on camera and make a video. Several videos (of infinitely better quality!) later, and I truly love the medium. I would make videos every week if my budget would allow!

As I’ve made my own videos and continued to script ones for other people, I’ve learned a thing or two about what goes into making a video.

#1 Introverts can make videos, too!

The first key takeaway is that no matter what kind of traumatic experience you’ve had behind the camera in the past, or no matter how much of an introvert you are, if you have a great message, you can make a great video! If you can learn to laugh at yourself, all the better. For example, would you like to see the bloopers from my latest video?

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 #2 Be ready to bring your brand to life.

How you phrase things, the way you smile, what you wear, the setting, the music, the interviews and voice over, the graphics: these are all components of your brand, either intentionally or by default. When your video is done right, it’s such a clear snapshot of your brand. A great videographer will partner with you to pull it all together. But I think it’s important to take some ownership over the story and what you want to create (and definitely WHY you want to create it). The message you have to deliver might not be dramatically different from your competition down the street. But YOU are different. In what ways could the video you’re making only belong to you? Be clear on the tangibles and intangibles of your brand before you invest.

#3 Make sure you have a good script.

I’ve done a handful of videos now, and each time, I write a script. I read it aloud to hear the phrases that don’t work so well, and the places where it needs to be more conversational. I keep tweaking until it simply sounds like me speaking comfortably off the cuff, building in the places where I can add emphasis, gestures, and dramatic pauses. If you don’t feel like you can eloquently capture what you want to say, work with a scriptwriter. I often work with organizations on writing video scripts. Personally, I need a detailed script to effectively gather my thoughts. Other people are better merely with talking points. Either way, you should know going in exactly what you are going to say, and how you’re going to say it.

#4 Practice, practice, practice (and then practice more).

Anyone making a video should practice—introverts and extroverts alike! But for those of us who feel drained by the energy of too much attention, too many people, and lights that are too bright, practice is essential. Practice your script, of course (I usually go through mine 20 times or more until I’ve memorized it and it feels natural). But also, practice to build up your stamina. I’m a runner, and I regularly run intervals (short bursts of speed). The main reason I do this is so my body is practiced at feeling fatigued—so if I’m running a race, I’m familiar with the feeling of drain and fatigue. Making a video is not much different. Practice letting your body and brain absorb that feeling of drain, and train yourself to push past it (with a smile).

Know someone who is afraid to make a video (but needs to get over it)? Share my bloopers with them! It’s okay to mess up, be nervous, act like a dork, and sweat profusely under your armpits (why do you think I always wear tank tops when I do videos?). But get that message out there!

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