Viewfinder: Shoot with a Happy Face

When we practice the craft of videography, we usually focus upon the endeavor at hand. When we shoot, we concentrate on our subject through the lens. While editing, we focus upon the subject on the screen. We pay extremely close attention and evaluate every nuance. I wonder what it would be like if someone were paying that much attention to us while we were making video. What would they observe? What insight would they gain about us?

People portray many of us video people as control freaks. Sometimes we pre-create videos in our minds and then burden ourselves (and others) with attempting to get the real world to cooperate and sync-up with our visions. Some Hollywood directors are demanding taskmasters that drive actors and production crews crazy. Actors walk off the set, and editors resign halfway through the picture. Stanley Kubrick, for example, had a reputation of shooting scenes dozens of times in an effort to get them to match his vision.

Some people are more flexible and open-minded. They view themselves as explorers looking to make new discoveries. This approach can be enjoyable for some, while frustrating for those pragmatic, non-explorer types.

This informal style won’t work so well if the video’s project charter, or detailed plan, is highly specific. A project charter is a paragraph which describes the purpose of the video, including length, style, target audience, schedule and budget. A project charter for "Our Vacation in Miami" would offer lots of room for change and adaptation. A project charter for "Miami as a Vacation Destination" would require more planning and specific, stringent needs.

If someone observed you while you made a video with a go-with-the-flow attitude, you’d probably appear to be a pleasant and care-free individual. People would likely think the opposite of you if you directed a video with a controlling, rigid approach.

Even when you work under strict guidelines, be more aware of how others perceive you (unless, of course, you don’t mind people comparing you to Attila the Hun).

Be sure to commend people whenever possible. Positive reinforcement is fundamental to good project management. Praising in public is even better. People appreciate being recognized in the presence of others. Just as important, you need to correct people in private. It can be humiliating to be scolded in front of others.

You will gain the greatest level of cooperation from others if people distinguish you as being kind, caring and professional, regardless of your project’s demands and deadlines.

So put on a smile, even if you are frustrated or disappointed. After all, this is supposed to be fun!

The Videomaker Editors are dedicated to bringing you the information you need to produce and share better video.