You’re between major holidays, there are no birthdays or weddings happening, your video camera is resting in its case and you’re wondering, "What can I do with this thing?" Believe me, it happens to us all. You want to be out there taping, but you draw a blank as to what to tape.
Well, fear not because, we’ve got some ideas that will have you up and taping in no time. Nine, to be exact. So get your gear ready, it’s shootin’ time.
1) DOCUMENT YOUR STUFF
Okay, let’s start off simple and make a visual record of what you have. Tape your sports cards or coin collection, those old record album jackets and your wonderful new video equipment. This is great, not just for sentimental reasons, but for insurance purposes as well.
2) VIDEOTAPE YOUR FAMILY
It may sound sappy but, when you think about it, how long will it be before the kids are grown and gone? How do you describe the way your spouse’s lips curl when she’s eating ice cream? There’s nothing like videotaping cherished moments. And, who knows, you may end up with something for "World’s Funniest Videos."
3) VIDEOTAPE YOUR FRIENDS
If your friends are even remotely like the knuckleheads that I know, you should have a bottomless well of video material. Think of all those once in a lifetime conversations you’ve had that they (sometimes conveniently) can’t remember.
4) INTERVIEW SOMEONE
Everybody’s got a story and most people love to tell them. Have your parents talk about how they met (and why her parents hated him at first) or let your neighbor explain how she ended up with sixty cats.
5) PRODUCE A COMIC STRIP
There is a lot of written material out there just aching to see the light of, well, video. Children’s books and comic strips make fantastic ready-to-shoot video scripts. Again, start simply. Don’t try to shoot "War and Peace." Stick to short pieces. Comics are really great because you’ve got ready-made storyboards. Dig out Sunday’s paper, gather a couple of friends, and produce a real-life Beetle Bailey.
6) MAKE A HOW-TO VIDEO
Toothpaste tube squeezed from the middle instead of the bottom again? Dishes used then dumped in the sink again? Solution: Put together some simple training videos to entertain and educate those around you. After a couple of these, you can move to the big leagues and…
7) …MAKE YOUR OWN INFO-VIDEO (WITHOUT IT BEING SO AWFUL)
We’ve all seen them. Those painfully, mind-numbing pieces of video that are supposed to show us how to deal with situations better, improve our job performance or any number of things. Unfortunately, no one has made a video on how to stay awake while watching these things. Next time you’re at work, borrow one of those training tapes or get one from the library and analyze it. Find out what makes it not work for you and try to fix it. (If you figure out how to do this, let us know.)
8) CREATE A MUSIC VIDEO
Pick a favorite song and translate it to video. Maybe you’ll make a montage of family photos, or a musical tour of your town. And as long as it isn’t broadcast, sold or shown to a public audience, you aren’t violating any copyright laws.
9) DOCUMENT A DAY IN YOUR LIFE
Carry your camcorder with you for a day. Record the world as only you can see it. Eating your breakfast, mowing your lawn, washing your car, walking your dog or whatever you do. A few years from now you are liable to forget how enjoyable your current situation is. Get it on tape and save it for posterity.