I keep hearing that you need to have video on your site, but then I see yet another schmuck reciting a clunky script into a web cam. Please, I grew up on television. I expect better. At least adjust the lighting, dress the set and rehearse.
I’d rather be reading, listening or depilating. Sure, some blow my mind. But most of the DIY videos of earnest people hyping their latest breakthrough just make me laugh. As do the Flash-y promos, full of exploding type and dizzying effects, so overblown they look likes parodies of movie trailers.
But when I kept encountering places where I’m supposed to post a video to promote my book, I knew I had to go over to the dark and grainy side. I love a live audience and a microphone, but not a camera that can’t contain my energy. Even when I was younger and marginally hot, I made faces, swayed and fidgeted too much.
Then there was the issue of budget. If I were going to do a video, it would have to have the high production values of the ones I’ve worked on for corporate clients or marvelled at on YouTube. But I cannot afford a technical crew, let alone a stylist or editor.
So I went with what I know. Good old PowerPoint, that I could convert to a video and post. Not the mind-numbing, text-filled slides of corporate presentations, not masterful like An Inconvenient Truth, but fun with photos that pull at heart strings and just enough words.
And of course music. I wanted the pictures and bits of text to do the talking, not me. But I needed a soundtrack to create mood and move along the story.
I had so much fun creating the presentation that I didn’t mind working evenings and weekends on it. That is, until I ran into technical problems transferring the audio from PowerPoint to video, which took weeks to solve. Mind you, every time I tried something I had learned on Google, YouTube or a friend, I would also get better ideas for the slides.
When I would convert my presentation to a video for Windows Media Player, I would lose the music that I was convinced would hypnotize millions into buying the book. The trouble was that if I stuck with my musical PowerPoint, then Skydrive, Slideshare and other possible hosts would not only strip away the music, but also the animations and transitions.
Finally, I discovered that I could add a soundtrack to a silent PowerPoint-based video with Movie Maker. So I did. My slick transitions disappeared, but by this point I knew compromises would have to made if I was going to have time for anything else. And to get the damn thing up.
Learn to Write Like You Talk Only Better in One Minute will not go viral. But it’s better than watching my eye lid twitch. It cost only time that was mostly enjoyed.
As a professional who communicates mostly through written words, I was inspired by the challenge of conveying ideas through images. As someone who hates the technical side, I was proud of myself for hanging in.
I’m not expecting a stampede of sales because of my hybrid PowerPoint-video that I refer to as my pideo. But at least now I can tell the cool kids I have video on my site.
Plus I have accepted that video is here to stay. I have signed up for lessons. Now if only I can sit still.
Thanks for the photo, Smussyolay.